In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

On these Sunday’s after Pascha and before the Ascension, we hear of several of our Lord’s miracles, very specifically miracles that identified Him with the Messiah. And during these episodes He most always has something to say, something that we need to hear and to understand. This morning I’d like us to think for a few minutes on some particular words of our Lord.
As He came near to a man who was blind from birth, the disciples asked Him “who sinned, this man or His parents?” It was very much in the Jewish mindset, and even the pagan mindset of the times, that dramatic illness or any calamity (death, bad crops, loss in war, etc) came to someone from God as a punishment for something that had been done. Either a person was punished for his sins, or for the sins of his forefathers. Our Lord’s answer to His Apostles must have caught them off guard – “neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” This idea of the man’s blindness not coming as a result of punishment was as far outside of His contemporaries mindset as most anything that our Lord said. This man was not blind because of anything that he or his ancestors had done, but rather “that the works of God should be revealed in him.”

So this is our phrase, our idea to look at this morning – what does that mean, “that the works of God should be revealed in him?” I would like to look at this phrase from two directions – 1) the literal meaning in this morning’s Gospel reading, 2) the meaning of this phrase in the life of each and every one of us, and each and every Christian.
1
In this morning’s Gospel, the works of God were revealed in a very dramatic and immediate and physical way. The Lord knelt down, and with His own spittle and the dust of the earth he formed  new eyes for the blind man – the man then washed in the pool of Siloam and his sight was restored. The works of God were revealed by this miracle performed by God Himself, and a miracle that many were witness to as well. And this was also a very specific type of miracle – restoring sight to someone who had been able to see was one thing – there were healers and false messiahs who performed “miracles” like that; healing a man blind from birth was one of the prophesied works of the coming Messiah of Israel – that was a miracle that no one else had done. We heard, at the end of the Gospel, what the result of this work of God was – the man who had been blind fell down at Jesus’ feet and worshipped Him. The work of God revealed God to the man, and he responded by accepting.
2
So now to the second focus – what does this phrase mean in our lives, “that the works of God should be revealed in [us]?”

We are all born infirm in some way – physical ailments, psychological ailments,  addictions, sinful desires and lifestyles, sufferings we bring on ourselves, sufferings that come to us from the outside. There is always something, and usually more than one thing, that each of us suffers from. We each have our own “blindness from birth.” In the words of the Gospels and the Fathers, we all have crosses to bear. We live in a fallen and sinful world, so we all work with an inheritance that is broken to some extent.

The work of God is revealed in us as we take up our cross and follow Christ. We testify to Christ in our very beings, by our very lives. As I heard it said one time, the Saints are the proof of Pentecost. In other words, those men and women who have been healed by Christ, who have taken up their crosses and given over everything to the Lord, in their very person the truth of the Gospel is revealed. The Gospel, the Truth, is not about teaching or any amount of words, the Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ. He is shown to the world by those who live in Him. As we are being healed in Christ, His work is being made known to the world.
We take up our Crosses, our blindness – this means we admit our weaknesses, we admit our powerlessness, and then we live every moment of every day in the “Now,” doing what must be done at each moment. And one of the central things that must be done at every moment is to allow no evil in our lives whatsoever, at any time. This is the Christian life – seek ye first the Kingdom of God…if you love Me, keep My commandments. We shut our life off to evil, and we open ourselves fully to God. Then His works can be revealed to the nations. The Scripture even refers to us as “His workmanship,” those He is working on, and those who He is working through.
With these things in mind, we can certainly appropriate the language of our Lord from this morning’s Gospel [this language is used to describe us in other places in the Holy Scriptures]: “[we] must work the works of Him who sent [us] while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as [we are] in the world, [we are] the light of the world.”
We are called to be the light of the world, a city set on a hill which cannot be hid.

The only way that the light of Christ can shine through us is if we take up our Cross and follow Christ, that by the overcoming and healing of our infirmities “the works of God can be revealed in us.”

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Matthew Jackson

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