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Thursday: A Student Who Gets It — 13 Comments

  1. Sight is one of our most precious senses. I became aware of that about 12 years ago. I woke up one morning to see my vision in my left eye punctuated by little flashes of light and the lower part of my vision in that eye becoming dark. My daughter who us an optometrist was staying with us at the time and I mentioned this to her and she immediately wrote a referral to a local ophthalmologist. She said, “Go to his clinic as soon as it opens and he will see you immediately. You have a retinal tear and that is an emergency!”

    I went to him straight way and he looked at my eye and said the worst words I had ever heard in my life, “I cannot do anything for you!” He dispatched me immediately to the Sydney Eye Hospital where they performed surgery and stitched my eye back together again. Three months later, on New Year’s Day, the same thing happened again. This time I went to the Eye Hospital (Ophthalmologists are a bit thin on the ground on New Year’s Day) I had a retinal detachment this time and a vitreo-retinal surgeon worked very hard to save my sight. My vision in my left eye was not fully restored this time. I have blurred central vision in my left eye but, thankfully good peripheral vision. And that is the way it has been for the last 12 years. Needless to say, I am very thankful to God for the skill of the surgeons in saving my sight.

    Having had such a close call with my own sight, I am empathetic with Bartimaeus who had lost all his sight and heard that Jesus was nearby. This was an opportunity that had to be seized. Of course he shouted out. And Jesus healed him as a result.

    There is another story of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9. This person was blind from birth but what is interesting in this story was that it sparked a theological controversy with the Pharisees because the healing took place on Sabbath. The questioned the blind man’s parents before questioning him again. He got quite frustrated with them. Read part of the exchange here:

    “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”
    “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once; didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
    Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.
    We know God has spoken to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t know anything about him.”
    “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He can heal blind men, and yet you don’t know anything about him! Well, God doesn’t listen to evil men, but he has open ears to those who worship him and do his will. Since the world began there has never been anyone who could open the eyes of someone born blind. If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do it.”
    “You illegitimate bastard,you!” they shouted. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out. John 9:26-34 TLB

    Jesus went on to say:

    Then Jesus told him, “I have come into the world to give sight to those who are spiritually blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39 TLB

    The real issue with spiritual blindness is that you can be spiritually blind and not even know it. The tragedy of the religious Pharisees was that spiritually they were stumbling in the dark, yet, thinking they could see.

    What is the takeaway from today’s study? Our work as spiritual educators is to give sight to the blind. But how can we do that if we ourselves are spiritually blind but do not know it.

    • "What is the takeaway from today’s study? Our work as spiritual educators is to give sight to the blind. But how can we do that if we ourselves are spiritually blind but do not know it."

      I agree with the issue Maurice is drawing into focus. And I was pondering what might be the answer/s to the valid question he raised.

      As a start point to discussion on this issue, I was recently re-reading the following as an aspect of Adventist history that I am wondering may have relevance for Adventism in its present 'history':

      "A brother asked, “Sister White, do you think we must understand the truth for ourselves? Why can we not take the truths that others have gathered together, and believe them because they have investigated the subjects, and then we shall be free to go on without the taxing of the powers of the mind in the investigation of all these subjects? Do you not think that these men who have brought out the truth in the past were inspired of God?”
      I dare not say they were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth; but when it comes to inspiration in the fullest sense of the word, I answer, No. I believe that God has given them a work to do, but if they are not fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing, and will put their mold upon the work, and fashion men in religious experience after their own pattern. It is dangerous for us to make flesh our arm. We should lean upon the arm of Infinite Power. God has been revealing this to us for years. We must have living faith in our hearts and reach out for larger knowledge and more advanced light." (The Review and Herald, March 25, 1890).

      How do we - how do I - counter the potential that I might be spiritually blind and not know it? Would having a living faith in my heart and reaching out for larger knowledge and more advancing light help this?

      What else might help me?

      I invite all input...

      • Hello Phil - yes, this ‘reaching out’ will bring about inspiration. Scripture reveals Truth to the one who is inclined to hungrily seek it and is eager to learn; not second hand but first hand — directly from the source, the Holy Spirit.
        I dislike when more weight is given to doctrine than to the revealed Truth - ‘more advanced Light’.
        We need to learn our lesson from the experience of the Jewish religious elite who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. I often think what Ellen White might have thought when she encountered religious ‘opposition’. Her quote clearly states that she believed that each believer needs to find spiritual truth by seeking after it himself.
        I really think that God honors the one who seeks spiritual wisdom and understanding in order for it to be employed for righteous living. Trust in the still small voice revealing Truth when it is born out by confirmation upon confirmation in the Scriptures; the more the Holy Spirit’s Light reveals, the brighter the Light shines!

  2. I do not ‘get it’ looking at the picture for today's lesson! What is it to depict? Blindfolded and at the edge of a steep drop; is this where we are while we believe - at the edge of a steep drop? I can see myself having been at the edge before I believed!
    Usually, people blindfolded wandering close to the edge of a cliff do not far well should they take that one step which brings them beyond solid ground.
    So, if I think to interpret it in a spiritual way, what do I see? ‘Blind’ Faith, trust in something that I am not familiar with beyond the cliff-drop or the condition I was in before I believed? I have another interpretation.

    I imagine a picture of a person, blindfolded walking carefully when following the solid ground of a ‘narrow’ path winding its way through rough and tough terrain where he/she can be safe as long as the foot remains on this path. This would fit the ‘Student who gets it’ idea better.
    I can see Faith to be the ‘blindfold’ that turns our eyes inward, toward the Holy Spirit, where we can see even though our physical eyes do not.
    Faith applied as we Walk the path of our spiritual life.

    For me, Mark8:31-33KJV contains the spiritual learning aspect in v.33: “But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of man".
    By the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ looks at us with His Spiritual eyes; if we as His students ‘get this’, then we are known and know the Truth, the Way, and the Life.

  3. To me, today's picture is showing the danger of being blind. Which raises the question am I blind?

    Which is exactly the question the Pharisees asked Jesus after He made the astonishing statement that His purpose was to reveal the truth to those who realized they were blind and those who didn't know they were actually blind. John 9:39-41
    That was the first point the Holy Spirit brought to my mind after reading today's study guide. The second was Rom 2:19 where Paul gave the warning : if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those in darkness, but don't live accordingly you bring the LORD's character into disrepute.
    The third point to which I was guided on my journey of discovery was 2Peter 1:3-11 : where Peter reveals we may partake of the LORD's divine nature and the qualities for the continual development of our character, however he gives the warning whoever lacks these traits is nearsighted to the point of blindness
    I have discovered I need humility, accountability and commitment in my treasure hunt for the right way and truth and eternal life in the Word of the LORD.

    John 9:39 Jesus declared, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind may see and those who see may become blind.”
    40 Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this, and they asked Him, “Are we blind too?”
    41 “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

    • Hi Shirley, thanks for your spiritual insight as usual regarding the illustrations. Sometimes I don't get them until you explain. It's obvious that when we are physically blind we can walkout into unknown danger. Likewise, when we are spiritual blind we are in grave danger of the devil leading us to the edge of eternal death.
      I find that for me I at times get the message better from an object lesson.
      Thanks again for your spiritual insight.

  4. When blind man Bartimaeus heard about Jesus the Son of David he called out to him in a loud voice Mark 10:47.

    He was called 'Blind man Bartimaeus', I wonder what his new name changed to after the restoration of his sight. I am sure people referred to him as 'Bartimaeus, the one who was blind'. There was always a qualification on his name afterwards.

    There is something that struck me about this man. People tried to silence him because he was noise to them. Not that they did not want his sight to be restored. They must have wanted him to call Jesus without others hearing it. If Bartimaeus represents spiritual blindness, then we should be able to draw some lessons from this man.

    Call out for help - when the Word of God is not clear, call for help. Learning from other people does help reveal what God wants us to learn. But I found that calling to God to help reveal his Word, he does send the Holy Spirit to teach us. I would rather, call to the Author first before turning to fallen men.

    Don't let people silence you - There are cultures that do not permit women especially to learn. Blind man Bartimaeus was being silenced but he cried out until Jesus came to his rescue. The Bible says they warned him (they were many)..Mark 10:48.

    Testify of his goodness - After being healed, he was not apologetic about Jesus. He did not care about what people thought of Jesus. We need to testify about the Jesus in our lives. And whatever people call us after our encounter with Jesus, the point still remains, our lives have been changed. This is one lesson that we can live and tell the world.

  5. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write-....thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked.....and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. Rev 3:14-18.

    A Student Who Gets It
    If I truly believe in the bible, none, no not one of us get it. We are all blind to some degree. People can be partially or totally blind depending on their eye problem. The Master teacher is saying, My people is blind but he and he alone has the remedy to fix our problems. The Great Physician, The Great Ophthalmologist. He can both diagnose and fix.

    What does anoint our eyes with eye salves that we might see means? It only has one meaning.
    I pray that the anointing of the Holy Ghost will fall on his people today. Anoint our eyes that we might see and behold you once again. See you from the cradle to the cross. See you as the soon coming King.

  6. It is difficult to teach what we do not have experienced. Perhaps one of the most important things in being a teacher is not to be closed to new learning! In order for us to be "feeding on solid food", I guess we have to accept God's teaching, and try to move on to higher levels of His educational methods. With time, we also must learn to value what is really worth to pay attention and focus, JESUS!

  7. “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” ... “Are you trying to teach us?"

    Some years ago I brought to the attention of our local leaders that a particular SDA practice was probably in violation of a clear biblical teaching.

    I got the silent treatment, so I personally asked a prominent leader why he ignored my comments. "I did not want to dignify your comments," he responded.

    I interpreted his answer as follows: "I am a leader, while you are a laymen. You do not deserve to be heard."

    Do laymen have a right to ask questions and be heard?

    • Hello Nic - I am so very sorry that you encountered this unkindness against you done by a fellow Christian. The 'silent treatment' is the scurge applied by those who do not love their fellow man as they cloth their ego in the garment of 'status' to so identify who they are and what they deem us to be (unworthy of equal standing). This is how the people of this world treat each other, this is their measuring device.
      Yes, everyone of us has a right to ask questions and be heard! Though, whether we receive an honest 'hearing' depends on the spirit governing the conscience of the person asked.
      All I can do to help with healing is to encourage you to not take this person's type of response personal and know what your status is in Christ - you are a child of God.

    • Nic-
      To God be the glory, great things he had and is still doing. When I moved to the present place where I live and worship, I observed many things that is being done that is not biblically. Being an extrovert, I asked a lot of questions. Some answered and some go unanswered. One of my sister in Christ said in this culture 'people get up and walk with their pocket book'. So many times I did the same. Things that is biblically and I truly believed will help the church/congregation I support. Many times when laymen question leaders who either sit on church board as families, or, their in the church for omteen years thought differently about situations happening that is going in the wrong direction. When you are playing a game of chest you do not see the moves to make like others looking on.
      I pray that the Anointing anoint our eyes so we can see.

    • Hi Nic. I'm pretty sure I know what you were commenting about (I have your book). In earlier times, you might have been stoned for pointing out the hypocrisy.

      I'm happy that you are a still with us and get to see the changes that are taking place in part because of your courage.

      God bless you.


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