In John 9 we meet a poor man, blind from his birth, who gets his eyes anointed by the Lord and is sent to wash at Siloam. He goes, he washes, he sees.
The moment he sees, the neighbors are intrigued. They speak of him as the one who “sat and begged,” for he now sits and begs no longer. “Others said, He is like him.” Such was the change that took place when his eyes were opened, that they could scarcely recognize him as the same person. He, more conscious of this change than any other, says, “I am he.”
But now they must know how all this has come about. It has created a stir among them, and for some cause or other, it has made them all feel uncomfortable. He is questioned, and, in a simple, artless manner, bears witness to what he knows: “A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went, and washed, and I received sight.”
Troubles now multiply. The case is referred to the Pharisees. Questioned by them, he has but one answer: “He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed and do see.” These were the facts. It was the truth. What else could he say?
It is strange that simple truth should cause so much trouble, especially a truth which ought to have made them all rejoice. But cause trouble it did, and so it does, and so it will do to the end. The Pharisees were divided, the Jews believed not, and so they all go to the parents of the man. Unbelief and self-righteousness will leave no stone unturned to prove that the truth is not the truth.
The parents can testify as to their son, and they do so unhesitatingly: “This is our son, and he was born blind.” However, they refuse to commit themselves further than this, “He is of age; ask him.” They deny knowing how and by whom their son had passed from darkness to light. “They feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that [Jesus] was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”
No doubt they had at the first been more or less partakers of their son’s joy, for such remarkable joy must have carried others along with it, at least in measure. But the root of the matter was not in them, and now that the offense connected with the name of their son’s benefactor comes out on all sides—now that it is a question of losing their place in the synagogue—they cannot stand, they flinch, they are “offended in Him” (Matthew 13:57).
Not so with their son. A seat in the synagogue had not given him eyes, the Pharisees had never sent him to Siloam, and though one of the Jews, he only “sat and begged.” Now he was free, and it was Jesus who had set him free. Was he going to give up to them, though they come with such a pious saying as, “Give God the praise,” to cover a blasphemy? He could not; he is in the light. Jesus has put him there, and he will be true to what he has, even though it puts him in the same place as He whom they have agreed to reject. Come what may, he must testify to what he knows to be true, “Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” Again, “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.” The beggar has actually turned into a preacher. Oh, the blessedness and the moral grandeur of being true to what we know!
And now for the cost. They revile him; he is a heretic because he has gone from honoring Moses to glorifying Moses’ Lord. They close their ears to his unanswerable words, and finally “they cast him out.” They have done all that they can do.
Reader, do you know what all this means? Have you been brought to the light? I do not mean the light simply as to the question of your salvation, but of any and every matter of truth—the Church, the Holy Ghost, the coming again of the Lord, and any part of God’s revealed will? And have you been true to it? Have you been true to every ray of light which has reached your soul? Then, I venture to say you know what I am speaking about. You know what it is to have left behind father, mother, friends, religious connections, and religious position. You know what it is to be alone in this world. Once in your life you have been solitary indeed. You had not chosen it nor sought it, but there you found yourself. You had found blessing which your soul appreciated, but blessing is no company in itself. It meets the need but it does not satisfy the heart. Mere need must have something; the heart must have somebody.
Jesus finds the blessed man whom faithfulness had brought into this solitude, and He is going to take him out of it. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” is the question He puts to him. The man is ready to move forward, as are all who are true to the light they possess, and accordingly he replies, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?” Jesus said, “Thou hast both seen Him and it is He that talketh with thee.”
This is enough! The Sun that gave him light has now become the center of the universe newly spread before his vision. What are father, mother, synagogue, and all the rest now? He has found a gain which sinks all his losses into insignificance. He has found Him who, for all eternity, as well as for all time, is enough to satisfy his heart. He falls at His feet; he worships Him. Henceforth to serve Him and care for His interests will be second in importance only to Christ Himself. To get the smile of His approval day by day in his conscience, and by-and-by the assurance of it from His own lips, is sweeter than life. He has found Him from whom every good thing radiates—the Lord Himself. He has not passed from one synagogue into another, perhaps a more godly one, or with more correct doctrine; he has not “changed his views,” nor found “a better religion”; no, he has lost all he had, and he has found all he wants, and ever will want—the Son of God, Christ HIMSELF!
Suppose there was no other person with Christ when he met Him? What would it matter? Is not Christ all by Himself enough? Is there need of a great company with Him? No, my soul delights to repeat it, He, and He only, is enough for such a one.
Suppose he had found ten thousand already gathered to the Son of God when he met Him. He would have been at once with them, but gathered to Christ Himself, not to these ten thousand. Suppose ten thousand more were gathered after him. It would make him happy indeed for their sakes, and for the honor of Him whom he loves, but tens of thousands cannot add to the delight of his soul in Christ’s company. Suppose troubles arise in the company. Suppose many be offended and leave. What would it matter? To whom can he go? There is no other.
Depend upon it, dear reader, you cannot stand in the hour of the storm unless you have been “alone with Jesus,” unless it is HIMSELF who fills your eye and your heart. If it is to the company which is about Him that you have come, instead of Himself, you have something more to learn, something more to lose. You have yet found no center for your heart, and you are yet but a wandering star. And be sure of this, that Satan will leave none untested who connect themselves with the name of Christ.
But if such be the portion of him who has found in Christ his “all” already here, what will it be, oh, what will it be up there where nothing more to mar the glory of His face, we shall see how worthy He is for whom we have lost all through faithfulness to Him!
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