Is the world showing more love than the church?

Mark joined his local human services federation and noticed that the unbelievers he was working with showed more love and compassion than Christians often do. He took note that public school teachers and staff rival and often exceed the passion of the church in seeing children and their parents prosper. Moreover, the director of after-school programs in low-income (Title One) schools in the city asked him for help in getting churches involved in serving their families. The irony is that city and school officials had a greater desire for churches to serve people in the community than the congregations themselves did. How can this be?

Will Christians awaken to the call for community service? Unfortunately, believers often don’t consider how God is working outside the four walls of the church to bring healing and restoration. They expect the lost and broken to come to them instead of the other way around. 

Let’s look at how religious leaders grappled with the healing of a blind man in John 9 and see what this passage teaches us about reaching out to those around us. In verse 1, Jesus saw a man blind from birth as He passed by. The disciples asked Jesus if the reason he was born blind was because of the man’s sin or his parents’ sin. He answered that it was neither. This happened to him so God’s works could be displayed in him. Jesus applied mud to the blind man’s eyes and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man then immediately received his sight!

The Pharisees asked the formerly blind man how he received sight. He said this man applied clay to his eyes, washed them and now he sees. A division came between those who didn’t believe Jesus was from God because He healed on the Sabbath and those who did believe because of His healing. Under further questioning, the formerly blind man said Jesus was a prophet.

The parents of the formerly blind man wouldn’t tell the Jews how he now sees because they feared being put out of the synagogue for confessing Jesus as the Messiah. They said to ask their son so he could speak for himself (John 9:13-23). This is a great lesson for all of us. Sometimes confessing Jesus as the Messiah will lead some to believe in Him and others to question or reject you.

The Jews asked the former blind man a second time to glorify God and say Jesus was a sinner. He said, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know, one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” The Jews asked him again how He opened his eyes. The formerly blind man said they weren’t listening and then asked whether they wanted to be His disciples. The Jews reviled him because they considered themselves disciples of Moses, and they were unsure of where Jesus came from.

The man challenged the Jews to look at the evidence concerning his healing. He said that “God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him… If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” The Jews put him out saying if wasn’t appropriate for a man born in sin to be teaching them (John 9:24-34). This part of the story shows us that sharing our personal testimony and God’s word boldly may lead to “religious” people rejecting us.

When Jesus heard that the formerly blind man had been put out, He asked if he believed in the Son of Man. The man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said that he had seen Him and that person was talking to him now. The healed man said he believed and then worshiped Him.

Jesus said it was for judgment He came into the world so the blind may see and those who see may become blind. When the Pharisees asked if they were blind, Jesus said they would have no sin by being blind, but saying, ‘We see,’ proves their sin remains (John 9:35-41). This story shows that just because someone says they are religious doesn’t mean they always have their hearts set on what God desires. God desires that we show His love by reaching out to others, as we bring healing and restoration.

Think about how could you might join God in His work by working alongside a social service agency, volunteering at your child’s school or team with others for a particular cause like homelessness, child abuse, etc.