The Gospel of John: Fear!

“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 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” (John 9:18-23).

A young pastor once went to the grocery store in order to pick up a couple of items his wife needed for dinner. As he approached the store entrance he was met by a dear friend of both he and his wife. Following a warm greeting, the friend told the pastor of a situation in which some other acquaintances expressed a degree of fear in being involved in an activity. The activity in question was a Bible study. The leader of said Bible study was to be this young pastor.

I wondered what would propel a person to fear and resist attending a study of God’s Word by someone who’s teaching ministry they had sat under for some time. What were they afraid of, or who? The young pastor will probably never know the answer to this question. Perhaps the individuals in question won’t either.

In John 9, we do know that the man who was formerly blind had a set of parents who were still living at the time of his healing. One wonders what joy they must have felt in their son being the recipient of Jesus’ gracious and miraculous act of giving their son sight. Their son could now see!

However, instead of rejoicing they were scared. They were afraid. They were fearful.

What were they scared of? The Apostle John comments that their fear was about being put out of the synagogue for confessing Jesus was the Christ. The Pharisees made this punishment common knowledge among the common people. If anyone spoke well of Jesus, or even suggested that He might be the Messiah, they would be removed from one of the most important social and religious centers of first century Judaism: the synagogue.

So the former blind man’s parents bailed when the Pharisees asked them if their son was truly blind from birth and if so, how he could now see? They both confessed ignorance as to what happened and who was responsible. They twice told the religious leaders to ask their son since he was of legal age and could speak for himself. Their son might speak well of Jesus, but they wouldn’t.

Often people are scared, not because of what other people will do but rather what other people might do. They fear the unknown consequences. The parents of the former blind man were concerned they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they confessed Christ. Today, people perhaps are scared they may be ostracized if they attend a Bible study.

The solution is to rest in the providential sovereignty of Almighty God. He alone is in control. We can rest in this and no longer fear what men may do to us, say about us or conspire against us.

Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Don’t be afraid any longer my friends. The LORD, Yahweh, is our light and our salvation and deliverance. He who delivered us from the penalty of sin is also delivering us from the power of sin. This includes our fears.

Soli deo Gloria!

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