August 10, 2022

Can I Belief That God Is Good?

You’ll have heard that Jesus referred to as himself the Good Shepherd — and that title fills your head with constructive connotations — specifically that Jesus is mild and caring. Possibly you consider an amateurish portrait during which a docile Savior snuggles a wayward lamb. However there’s extra to the title than mere sentimentality. Actually, to those that first heard Jesus declare himself the Good Shepherd, it was downright stunning. The assertion scandalized the Pharisees, however it additionally answered an important query one man’s coronary heart ever requested. And it may well reply the identical query in our personal hearts right now: Can I belief the God is nice?

However to grasp the query — and its reply — we should first perceive the setting during which Jesus uttered these well-known phrases.

The Good Shepherd Who Heals His Sheep

The Apostle John tells us a few beggar Jesus encountered, a person who had been blind from beginning. Within the historical world, not solely did such a situation nearly actually imply a life sentence of poverty, however it was additionally a particular mark of disgrace. At the moment, individuals believed that being born with any severe incapacity or well being subject was a positive signal of God’s displeasure.

So, as they got here close to the person, Jesus’ disciples requested, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his mother and father, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Absolutely, this beggar had heard comparable questions and piercing feedback his complete life as he sat on the dusty streets of Jerusalem, asking strangers for his or her unfastened change. Absolutely, he had questioned what God’s coronary heart was actually like to permit him to be born with out his eyesight.

Jesus was there to present him the reply.

The reply wasn’t what the disciples had suspected: that the person’s blindness was the results of somebody’s private sin — both his personal or his mother and father. As an alternative, Jesus stated the poor beggar was born blind with a purpose to deliver God glory. However that reply simply begs one other query: What kind of glory might blindness deliver?

You in all probability know the remainder of the story: Jesus spat on the bottom to make mud. Then He rubbed that mud within the man’s eyes and informed him to go wash in a close-by pool. It was an odd therapeutic as divine healings go, however it labored. The blind man rinsed the mud off his face, opened his eyes, and for the primary time, noticed clearly the world round him. God’s glory, because it seems, entails bringing restoration and doing good to individuals, particularly these whom society considers to be of little significance. In his therapeutic, this man obtained the primary clue that God’s coronary heart is certainly good.

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It may be troublesome to interpret life — and God’s coronary heart — after we face struggling or arduous circumstances. And we’ve all confronted them — whether or not it’s bodily illness, a divorce that cut up your loved ones aside, an necessary relationship that died and took a chunk of your coronary heart with it, or a dream that ended far too early. Jesus understands this. Actually, it’s one of many causes He got here (see John 17:25-26). That’s why, if we need to know what God the Father is like, we have to look to Jesus Christ, the Son (John 14:9; Hebrews 1:3). As we learn within the Gospels in regards to the compassion Jesus had for the individuals He healed, now we have a direct view into the center of our Creator.

The Good Shepherd Who Stays with His Sheep

As I learn in regards to the man’s therapeutic in John 9, I need that to be the completely satisfied ending to his story. It might be so easy: Man has an issue. Man meets Jesus. Jesus fixes the issue. Man is completely satisfied. However life this facet of heaven is never that predictable.

You see, Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath. And the Pharisees thought-about therapeutic to be work, and work, in fact, was strictly forbidden on the Sabbath. So as a substitute of thanking God for this man’s new eyesight, they investigated the incident as a option to nook Jesus.

However Jesus couldn’t be trapped, so the Pharisees took out their frustration on the person who had been healed. The beggar, who had beforehand by no means seen the options on one other human face, now had a transparent view of furrowed brows and offended scowls as these Pharisees, who have been among the many most revered males in society, expelled him from the synagogue.

This expulsion, although, was not like being requested to search out one other church, and even like getting kicked out of faculty. The native synagogue was on the middle of Jewish life, so being thrown out was the identical as being disowned by your neighborhood — your mates, your neighbors and even your loved ones. Since beginning, this man had been remoted due to his blindness. Now the person’s loneliness would proceed due to his connection to Jesus. It nonetheless wasn’t an ideal, completely satisfied ending. There was nonetheless disappointment.

In that second, it appeared that the previous order of issues — the disappointments that reorder our lives and go away us limping — would nonetheless maintain sway. Not even a miracle might change that.

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However that’s not all we should always discover about that second. Even because the now-healed man skilled collective rejection, Jesus was there, standing by the person’s facet as he obtained the Pharisees’ condemnation. And happily for us, Jesus continues to be within the enterprise of standing by His buddies every time heartaches or disappointments are being handed out.

Jesus stated one thing to the Pharisees that, to the uninitiated, may appear a wierd factor to say: “All who got here earlier than me are thieves and robbers, however the sheep didn’t hearken to them.… I’m the nice shepherd” (John 10:8,11). However the Pharisees knew precisely what Jesus was saying as a result of He was ending a dialog His Father had began lengthy earlier than.

God had beforehand spoken by His prophet Ezekiel, “Ah, shepherds of Israel who’ve been feeding yourselves! Shouldn’t shepherds feed the sheep?… I personally will seek for my sheep and can search them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he’s amongst his sheep which were scattered, so will I hunt down my sheep” (Ezekiel 34:2,11-12). After which God described the type of shepherd He can be: “I’ll rescue them.… I’ll feed them with good pasture.… I’ll search the misplaced, and I’ll deliver again the strayed. and I’ll bind up the injured, and I’ll strengthen the weak … I’ll feed them with justice” (vv. 12,14,16).

In brief, God himself can be the Good Shepherd He had needed for His individuals all alongside.

These phrases have been spoken centuries earlier than Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, however now He was taking each syllable upon himself — sure, making the declare to be God — however going additional than that. He was telling the Pharisees and the previously blind man — and also you and me — {that a} new day was dawning, a day during which the dominion of heaven would come to earth, when God would take care of His individuals instantly by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and thru His Spirit, who would dwell inside the hearts of His individuals.

The Good Shepherd Who Lays Down His Life for His Sheep

Jesus stated, “The great shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). If you consider it, it’s an odd factor to say. A shepherd who lays down his life to guard his sheep from a wild animal or a thief endangers the entire flock. This type of shepherd can be awful as a result of as soon as he’s lifeless, the sheep are basically goners.

However someday later, simply exterior the town partitions, Jesus would just do what He promised: lay down His life for His sheep. I ponder if the once-blind man, when he heard the information of Jesus’ crucifixion, fell over in despair, pondering that he, like these proverbial sheep, was now a goner, that he can be torn limb from limb by each arduous second and devastation life had but to supply. I ponder if, as soon as once more, he questioned the center of God.

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Maybe. However Jesus got here again to present him the reply.

On Resurrection Sunday, the riddle was solved: The Good Shepherd can lay down His life for His sheep as a result of He can take it up once more (John 10:18). He doesn’t go away the flock defenseless — not for a second. It doesn’t matter what you could be going through in life proper now, God’s love is greater than all of it as a result of ache and loss of life shouldn’t have the ultimate say. Because the Apostle Paul wrote, “The sufferings of this current time will not be price evaluating with the glory that’s to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

The never-ending, never-disappointing love that all of us lengthy for — that we have been all created for — is actual. How can we all know? As a result of Jesus says we’ll capable of hear His voice and acknowledge it as His (John 10:27-28). We are able to transfer from figuring out in our heads that God is nice to trusting it in our hearts by experiencing that goodness for ourselves — spending time with Him, sharing each second of life with Him and listening to what He has to say to us. That’s what sheep do; they hearken to their shepherd, day in and time out.

When life’s arduous moments come, we might be sincere with Jesus. We are able to ask Him what good factor He’s working collectively by the ache (Romans 8:28-29). We are able to lean on Him to hold us after we can’t take one other step. We might be reminded that, someday, each certainly one of our tears might be wiped away, regardless of how deep the ache that triggered them (Revelation 21:4).

On that day, God’s love will cowl over each mountain and fill each valley. No place might be left untouched by His life-giving presence. The Good Shepherd might be there to consolation His sheep. We are going to see the scars that mark the second He laid down His life for us in order that our struggling, our disappointments and our heartaches may very well be put away ceaselessly. After which, nobody will suppose to query God’s good coronary heart. Not ever once more.

Copyright 2018 John Greco. All rights reserved.