“He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
John 9:11 ESV
Two passages have held my interest in August, my writing sparse because of a desperate longing to correctly understand one and to linger in the hope of the other. Plus, my brain’s been a bit fuzzy, like a dull swirling of what next.
The passage about the man blind from childhood whose parents were interrogated by the Pharisees about the cause and the remedy has captivated me.
“His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.”
John 9:20 ESV
The other is the passage that contains the words to “carry your cross” used often in sermons or songs. It always intrigues me. More so now because I believe I’ve been believing it wrongly.
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Matthew 10:38 ESV
Once I heard a woman sing a song she wrote about her cross. Her voice was strong as she began and then wilted in weepiness towards the end. The lyrics told of her personal battles, her depression. These burdens she told us she had decided were her’s to carry, they were “her cross”.
I caught myself now thinking, “albatross”.
I remember how hopeless it left me, her disclosure, and how I pondered the weight I’d be expected to lay across one shoulder for the rest of my life.
I’d be bent permanently by the burden of my traumas.
If my past was my cross I’d be like the aged and decrepit beggar on a back street barely carrying on.
The road I often travel passes by the County jail. Men and women are leaving to walk towards town with paperwork in hand or they’re sitting at the exit, heads bent towards their laps, hoping soon their ride will be there.
“Change their life for better, God, today.”
Last week, a young man I guessed to be in his late twenties stood on the corner waiting. He was dressed in clothes that didn’t seem to match a night spent in jail. He stood and then paced and I watched in my rear view mirror until watching was no longer possible.
I noticed something different. I sensed his deep contemplation and so I opened my hand to heaven and prayed, “Lord, let today be his turnaround day. Be near him in a new way.”
When Jesus passed the man who’d been blind from birth, the disciples asked him, whose fault is this?
Is he blind as a punishment for his wrongs or is he blind and it’s his parents’ fault?
Jesus told them no, it is because God wants others to see the possibility of hope, of healing.
“Jesus answered, “Neither. It happened to him so that you could watch him experience God’s miracle.”
John 9:3 TPT
Now I see.
“The healed man replied, “I have no idea what kind of man he is. All I know is that I was blind and now I can see for the first time in my life!”
John 9:25 TPT
And now I see, the cross I carry is not the cross of my past wrongs or wrongs done towards me. My cross is not a burdensome visible and invisible reminder of what Jesus healed me of and from.
My cross is the very cross Jesus died on, the sacrifice of surrender to His Father’s plan, the hope of eternity for all of us who would say like the blind man.
It was “the man called Jesus”. (John 9:11)
Who said , I can’t comprehend it all, I just know what I experienced and I won’t debate with anyone on how or why or if.
I’ll carry on healed and I’ll carry the cross that made possible my healing, the good shepherd’s brutal cross.
I will follow.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:11 ESV
I most likely won’t know what happens in the lives of the prisoners who’ve been set free.
I know hope is possible.
Healing is a moment away for any and everyone. Jesus is still near and miracles are still the evidence and purpose of the cross, the cross waiting for us to carry in exchange for every weighty sin, shame or trauma.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1 ESV
Continue and believe.
Pray the same prayer for others today.