Cause and Effect Thinking

October 30, 2017

You can listen to the study by clicking here

Last week we talked about green olive trees. Like a green olive tree we are supposed to be a source of light to the world. I want to talk more about that today as we look at an encounter Jesus has with a man born blind.

Scripture Reading

John 9:1-7 (NIV)
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

1. Cause and effect thinking

John 9:1-7 (NIV)
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The established religious community of the day believed that those who do right will be rewarded; those who do wrong will be punished. Therefore, it followed, from this formula, that any personal disasters were evidence of sin. Conversely, prosperity was a sign of God’s approval.

This is what the disciples are thinking when they pose the question to Jesus about this man’s blindness. Was it his sin or his parent’s sin that caused the problem. There has to be somewhere to place the blame. This type of cause and effect thinking still impacts most of us today.

In order to let the light of the world shine through us as we talked about last week, we have to deal with some of the big questions in life. Why do bad things happen? How does a God who claims to be good allow so much evil in the world? Why doesn’t he do something?

We tend to be performance oriented. If I do good then good things should happen. If I am a basically good person then I should not have to deal with tragedies, hardship, pain, or suffering.

While there is some truth to that, if I am living by trying to do the next right thing, then good things are more likely, but they are not guaranteed.

Why is our cause and effect thinking so messed up?

Because we live in a fallen world on a broken planet. Things are not perfect. God created them perfect, but sin entered the world and messed it all up. And that is not God’s fault. It is ours. God wanted people to be able to choose to worship and love Him, so he gave us free will. And with that free will, we have all chosen to sin, just like Adam and Eve who had utopia and still wanted more.

We want to live pain free, white picket fence lives now and because of our performance orientation we think that by being good, this should be what happens, and yet pain free is not one of the right now promises. It is a future promise in Revelation 21:4.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Our motivation for living by doing the next right thing cannot be all about immediate rewards and pain free living. When it is, we spend our time being angry at God that things are not going the way that we want. Not my will but yours be done is easy to say, but hard to live out.

Our motivation for living by doing the next right thing is a love response to what God has already done at the cross. He has given us a future and a hope. He has already given us the best, eternal life. From this motivation we can move from our own selfishness and begin to see life differently. We can even begin to see who God can use the hardest and most difficult situations in our life to somehow help others.

Why do bad things happen? Sin entered the world. Our fault, not God’s.

How does a God who claims to be good allow so much evil in the world? The free will He gave us to choose cannot be suspended.

Why doesn’t he do something? He has. He went to the cross.

Until we have some breakthroughs in this thought process, and start thinking and seeing more like Jesus, it will be hard for the light of life to shine through us.

2. How the light of the world sees it

John 9:3-5 (NIV)
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus, the light of the world, sees the man born blind, and ministers to him. The light of life sees people in need, loves them, and reaches out to them.

3. How the trap of cause and effect thinking sees it

John 9:13-16a (NIV)
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

The Pharisees failed to rejoice with the man who had been healed of blindness. All they thought about was that Jesus was not observing the Sabbath the way they thought He should. Not only had Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath, it was also a violation of the law to make mud. They are so stuck in their perspective, that they can’t see the light of the world standing in their midst, they are spiritually blind.

4. How the man born blind sees it

Look at the impact the light of the world has on the man born blind.

John 9:10-11 (NIV)
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded. 11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

John 9:17 (NIV)
17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

John 9:24-34 (NIV)
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Nice words from the established religious community. Tossed him out. But look who finds him.

John 9:35-38 (NIV)
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Did you see the process of the man born blind? Some guy named Jesus. He is a prophet. He is a man of God. He is the Son of Man.

The Son of Man is a messianic title. Some translations say “Do you believe in the Son of God”. Same thing. Powerful question. Do you believe?

Believe in Jesus, all in regardless of the situations and circumstances of this life. That’s where life is found. And let the light of the world shine through you to help those around you come to believe in the Son of Man!

preachinginshortsimage

Preaching in Shorts

Filed in: Preaching in Shorts
Tagged with:

There are no thankful5(s) or Comments yet. Why not be the first to share your thankful5 or Comment?

Comments are closed.

Back to Top