“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, April 26, 2004

Manifesting the works of God

John 9:3-5 says,
"Neither this man or his parents sinned" said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work" (NIV).

Jesus said this in response to his disciples asking about a blind man they encountered, "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" They were wondering who's sin caused the blindness.

Merril C. Tenney, the Bible scholar wrote that this passage might be translated in a different way. Here is Tenney's translation.
"Neither did this man sin, nor his parents" said Jesus. "But that the works of God should be made manifest in him, we must work the works of him that sent me, while it is still day; the night cometh when no man can work."

One of Tenney's points with his translation is that the works of God are made manifest in persons with disability by the things those around them do. The works of God were not made manifest solely through the healing of the man by Jesus. An interesting perspective to consider. An interesting plumb line for evaluating the response of the Church to persons with a variety of disabilities.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting entry. I must confess that I have read this passage many times, and every time I would assume "the works of God" was exclusively referring to the miraculous healing performed by Jesus. But as this blog entry has pointed out, “the works of God” are so much more than that. When Jesus walked the earth He visited sinners, fed the hungry, acknowledged the lame and ostracized, listened to the poor, cried with those who cried, preached the gospel, and most importantly He loved one and all. If we truly regard Jesus as our role model, then we must do the things He did. The problem here, I believe, originates from Christians focusing too much on the miracles. We believe - because God is extraordinary, then His works must be extraordinary. And that is how we completely ignore all the other radical things Jesus did (previously mentioned) because we consider them simple and plain. How can paying attention to the lame be something worthy of praise? Well, the fact is this act represents what it means to do the works of God. I mean, how not to praise a person who, although living in a self-centered society, has the heart to stop and take some time to attend to the needs of the most forgotten members in our society? To be able to put the least of these before ourselves and to humbly serve them, that’s a miracle in itself.