FELLOWSHIP GROUP NOTES | GO…wash | 26/03/2017
1The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989
This Psalm is probably one of the most well-known Biblical passages. The Lord’s Prayer is another, and they are often used in times of crisis and sadness to bring comfort. An interesting twist in (vs. 6) the Hebrew word we translate as “shall follow” is more accurately translated as “chase after”. What does it mean to you, to say, that God’s goodness and mercy will “chase after” you, search for you, all the days of your life? Does this ring true for you in the way that your life is turning out?
John 9:1-25 (or 1-41)
1 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.
8 The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989
This is a very powerful story about God’s determined love at work to bring about healing and wholeness. It is also a story filled with prejudice, confusion, and deep seated religious anger. It is a story of the miracle of a healing in a person’s life – and the rejection of that person by the religious community.
- What did the disciples think of the man they met (vs.2)?
- How did Jesus answer differ from the disciples’ assumptions? (vs.3)
- How do you understand what happened in (vs.6-7)?
- How is it that the community did not recognise the healed “blind” man (vs. 8-9)?
- Is the suspicion and anger of the Pharisees understandable and acceptable (vs 13-34)?
- Are we as a church, or you as an individual, guilty at times of prejudicial and judgmental “religious” behaviour directed at others?
- Look at (vs. 34) again – where do you think this action left the man in his relationship with God?
- Have you ever been “thrown out” by a church, bible study group, or perhaps a circle of friends? How did you, or have you been able to, find healing?
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Use this week of Lent to focus on learning to use your thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes in a way that leads to the healing and acceptance of others around you. Let your week be focused on reconciliation and peace making.