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The Rejected Disciple
John 9:26-34 MKJV Then they said to him again, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes? (27) He answered them, I have told you already, and you did not hear. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also desire to be His disciples? (28) Then they reviled him and said, You are his disciple, but we are Moses' disciples. (29) We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know from where this man is. (30) The man answered and said to them, Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know from where He is, and He has opened my eyes. (31) But we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. (32) From everlasting it was not heard that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. (33) If this One were not of God, He could do nothing. (34) They answered and said to him, You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? And they cast him out.
The man born blind is now given words by the Holy Spirit:
He makes five main points:
Now we need to balance this with the later revelation that the Anti-Christ will come with false signs and lying wonders performing great miracles and even causing fire to come down from heaven (Matthew 7:21-23, 24:24, Mark 13:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, Revelation 13:13,14, 16:14,19:20) Yet as we saw a couple of days ago to attribute the miraculous to Satan is extremely dangerous territory and can only be done if there is clearly “bad fruit” such as wickedness, gross immorality or idolatry.
[See my article: https://globalchristians.org/articles/falsemir.htm for details on false miracles in the end times.]
With that cautionary note being sounded the general tone of the New Testament is to expect and approve of miracles and to see them as authenticating the man of God who does them. The principle that: “If this One were not of God, He could do nothing.” Is still generally a good one!
Romans 15:18-19 MKJV For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ did not work out by me for the obedience of the nations in word and deed, (19) in power of miracles and wonders, in power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and all around to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:11-12 MKJV (11) I have become foolish boasting. You compelled me. For I ought to be commended by you. For I lacked nothing of the highest apostles, if even I am nothing. (12) Truly the signs of the apostle were worked out among you in all patience, in miracles and in wonders, and by works of power.
Hebrews 2:3-4 MKJV how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by those who heard Him; (4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with different kinds of miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
Miracles are always part of the gospel narrative and the apostolic proclamation. Signs and wonders are a sign of the presence of the Kingdom and by ignoring this sign the Pharisees were ignoring the clear revelation of God about Christ.
For his logical reasoning about Christ the man-born-blind-who-now-sees is cast out of the synagogue, a potentially devastating Jewish social punishment. Here is what one commentator (Vincent’s Word Studies) says:
“Three kinds of excommunication were recognized, of which only the third was the real cutting off, the other two being disciplinary. The first, and lightest, was called rebuke, and lasted from seven to thirty days. The second was called thrusting out, and lasted for thirty days at least, followed by a “second admonition,” which lasted for thirty days more. This could only be pronounced in an assembly of ten. It was accompanied by curses, and sometimes proclaimed with the blast of the horn. The excommunicated person would not be admitted into any assembly of ten men, nor to public prayer. People would keep at the distance of four cubits from him, as if he were a leper. Stones were to be cast on his coffin when dead, and mourning for him was forbidden. If all else failed, the third, or real excommunication was pronounced, the duration of which was indefinite. The man was to be as one dead. No intercourse was to be held with him; one must not show him the road, and though he might buy the necessaries of life, it was forbidden to eat and drink with him.”
This raises the obvious question: “Why are good people persecuted for being logical and truthful?” And why is this such a consistent pattern that Paul can write to Timothy and say: “2 Timothy 3:12 MKJV Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”?
There are over 40 references to persecution of believers in the NT. Persecution is seen as part of the standard expectation of being a true believer and something that brings great eternal reward.
1 Peter 4:12-14 MKJV Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you, (13) but rejoice according as you are partakers of Christ's suffering, so that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. (14) If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of God and of glory rests on you. Truly according to them, He is blasphemed, but according to you He is glorified.
In the Sermon On The Mount we are told to expect rejection and persecution (Matthew 5:10-12) and to not react against it but to do good to and pray for those who persecute us. A loving Christian community that embraces the rejected is essential during times of persecution. We will see tomorrow that Jesus goes and finds the man cast out and accepts him as a disciple.