Stand Your Ground
There’s no doubt that we are in the final days before God’s judgment is poured out on the unbelieving world. The blindness of so many people is astounding. Especially astounding is the blindness of many who claim to be Christians but follow the satanic world rather than our Lord, Jesus Christ. This is a sign of the times; but as we live through this time in history, it takes a greater resolve to stand firmly on the solid Rock rather than sink in the devil’s quicksand.
There has always been persecution against Christians, but that persecution is becoming more open as Christians deny their power through Christ and stand with the world rather than stand with Christ. We can learn much about standing our ground from a certain blind man who received sight from Jesus.
The man had been born blind and was doing what he could to make his way in life. Because of his blindness he couldn’t work to earn a living, so he begged. Everyone around him accepted his plight and some dropped change into his cup or gave him a bit of food. One day he was sitting outside of the Temple, and his life was changed forever. Jesus saw him and blessed him with sight in order that God would be seen in the miracle. Jesus chose a seemingly odd method to heal this man.
“When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing“ (John 9:6-7).
There’s always a reason behind Jesus’ methods, and we learn later in the chapter that this event took place on the Sabbath when no work was to be done. The Law said that the Sabbath was a Jewish day of rest, but the Pharisees had gone far beyond God’s directive and defined what things they considered to be work.
Jesus spit, made clay and healed, which were all things the Pharisees said were work. When Jesus told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam, he was quick to obey. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so he made his way to the pool of Siloam, washed, and received his sight. Can you imagine the astonishment he felt as the clay fell away and he saw things for the first time in his life? He must have been thrilled.
When people noticed him and became aware that he was able to see, they didn’t share his joy but began debating the matter. “Isn’t this the beggar” they asked, and others said it was just someone who looked like him. They were confused, but this gave the man an opportunity to give his testimony.
“He answered and said, 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” (John 9:11).
Sometimes we try to complicate things, but this man was honest and straightforward. He stated the facts, and it was up to others to come to grips with the truth. This was a new situation for him to be in, but he spoke boldly. He wasn’t a scholar, but he stood his ground and told them what he could. They should have been happy for him, but they just couldn’t understand how this man had been healed.
People can react to good news in remarkable ways. When the man wasn’t able to tell them where Jesus was, they took him to the Pharisees. Rather than seeking Jesus, they sought after religion. Big mistake. Religious leaders can sometimes be blind to the works of God, and so it was with this miracle. Instead of praising God, they judged this situation by the rules of their religion. They questioned the man, and he clearly stated his testimony, but the Pharisees were the ones who truly were blind.
“Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them“ (John 9:16).
Things haven’t changed much over time, and miracles are still denied if they don’t fit religious rules. Had it been any other day of the week they wouldn’t have questioned it, but they also declared that Jesus was a sinner so he shouldn’t be able to do miracles. The fact that the blind man could see was completely beside the point…all they cared about were the rules.
Today many denominations claim that the gifts of the Spirit have stopped, and some even think that the Sabbath has to be kept, but these people miss out on the freedom we have in Christ. By denying the gifts, the power of the Holy Spirit is stifled. When people tell God what He can and cannot do, or how He can and cannot work, there’s a big problem.
These religious fanatics didn’t stop grilling the man and refused to believe what he said. So, they called his parents in and questioned them. These Pharisees had no desire for truth and were trying to disprove the testimony in every way they could. The parents were questioned as to the blindness of their son; and they were honest, but wary. Yes, the man was their son and was born blind. No, they didn’t know how his blindness had been cured, but they told the Pharisees that their son was an adult and he should speak for himself.
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue“ (John 9:22).
For a Jewish person, life centered around the synagogue; and if they couldn’t participate in life there, they would have been cut off from friends, business deals, etc. The parents had to be cautious in what they said because of the Pharisees, but the man would not change his story. He spoke the truth and stuck by it. Still, the Pharisees wouldn’t give up. They chose to remain blind and wanted everyone else to remain blind also.
Once again they called the man on the carpet and tried to prove him wrong. They told him to give God the glory, but that Jesus was a sinner. That’s willful blindness. Jesus was God in the flesh, but the Pharisees did everything they could to prove Him to be just a man. They refused to believe the truth. They met their match with this man who Jesus touched and was no longer blind. He received his sight, and he wasn’t going to allow the disbelief of others to convince him of a lie. His conviction of the truth gave him confidence, and he wasn’t shy about how he answered the questions.
“He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?” (John 9:27).
I can just imagine the anger that was building in the Pharisees. Did they want to be Jesus’ disciples? No, they wanted to kill Him.
The Pharisees continued to try to get the man to believe their lies. This man was just a regular guy and not trained in religion. Instead of rules and rituals, he knew the truth and had faith.
“The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing“ (John 9:30-33).
Brothers and sisters, do you have the confidence to speak the truth and defend your faith? If you don’t, you’d better do some studying and find out who Jesus is and what He has done for you. You never know when you’ll be asked to defend your faith.
Persecution of Christians has been happening for nearly 2,000 years. The first followers of Christ were Jewish men who had their eyes and hearts opened to the truth, and their lives were changed forever. That didn’t mean their life would be easy, and most of them would be martyred because of their faith. They would lose friends, and their families would turn on them, but they would not deny Christ. Jesus never said that following Him would be trouble free.
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father nor me“ (John 16:1-3).
Jesus warned His disciples, and in warning them He warns us. The persecution then was great; but because they stood their ground, they were able to open the eyes of many people to Christ. Because they wouldn’t change their testimony, they were able to spread the Gospel; and their witness comes to us through Scripture. Life on earth is temporary, but life through Jesus is eternal. Stand your ground and don’t let anyone badger you into denying the truth.
Every Christian today is standing in the place of that man who once was blind. We have been touched by Jesus, and our eyes are opened. That means we should put Him first in our life, even if that means people we love turning on us.
A very bad attitude held by many Christians is an attitude of keeping one foot in the world while claiming to follow Christ. It isn’t judging if you use Scripture to guide your ways and turn away from those lifestyles and attitudes that God’s word says is sin. It isn’t judgment but discernment. That means to deny your own ways and selfish desires and follow Christ.
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me“(Matthew 16:24).
He never said it would be easy to stand your ground.
Be assured that life on earth is temporary, but life through Jesus is eternal. Peter and John faced prison when they taught in the name of Jesus. They had healed a man and angered the Pharisees by giving glory to Jesus.
“And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).
Does that sound familiar in today’s world? Our schools and colleges have become cesspools of satanic lies.
“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
Peter and John stood their ground. Today, Satan is controlling many people in government, education, entertainment, and the media. The liberal agenda is growing stronger; and if Christians don’t stand our ground, we will be silenced.
Brothers and sisters, don’t compromise. Remember to speak in love as you speak out for your faith in Jesus. Stand in love, but stand your ground.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.
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