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The small step to a greater journey – by Tan Peixian

“I’m not good enough.”

“Maybe I should wait till I know more about the Bible.”

“What if I can’t answer the questions they ask?”

“But I’m already serving in other ministries!”

Those were just some of the few thoughts and doubts that went through my head when I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to serve in the Girls’ Home ministry (under the Salt and Light ministry). Honestly, I allowed these thoughts to win, and didn’t think about the next steps. It was not until I received a few more prompts from God, and started to feel a bit unnerved about not responding to them, that I eventually went about finding out how to serve.

I love that God knows me better than anyone else does. He knows that I am the type that needs to see the big picture, and so He helped me to understand that my obedience to saying yes to serving in this ministry is just a small step in the journey He wants me to go on. God waits patiently for us, until we are ready to tell our doubts to go away.

I’m not saying that those doubts will magically go away once you say yes. Trust me, I still find those thoughts popping up in my head – more often than I would like them to. However, I’ve learned that it is not about being good or “holy” enough. It’s about my heart of obedience, and allowing God to guide me to say the right things when in the midst of the girls I am serving. It’s never about me. I’m merely a vessel for God to use to speak to them, to be their friends, and most importantly, to be the light and show them God’s love.

So here’s a note of encouragement for you: Don’t ever tell yourself (or God) that you are not good enough, because the truth is – we will never be. That’s how we learn to depend on God.

 

If you are keen to serve in the Salt and Light ministry, speak to Shawn Lim.

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The Good Shepherd (Pt 4): Caring for the Shepherd

“Look, the Lamb of God!” – John 1:36 NIV

This short sentence caught my notice, “I pray, not wish because I have a God not a Genie.” God compared to a Genie, strange?  To think of it we could get easily confused.  I know of only one God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. But I know of at least two genies.  One was from the Middle Eastern folklore.  Aladdin had a magic lamp.  The genie appears when he rubbed the lamp.  The genie would compliantly appear saying, “What is your wish my master?”  And the genie would grant Aladdin his wish!

The other genie was from the American TV sitcom, “I Dream of Jeannie.” An astronaut, Captain Tony Nelson found a mysterious bottle.  He opened it and released a genie called Jeannie.  She was not quite the counterpart of the genie in Aladdin.  She just needed to wink and her master’s wish would be granted. She would of course try her best to please her master by giving him all might wish for except that she was an attractive woman and had her own mind.

 

That was how we sometimes treat our prayers. The prayer list is our wish list. But God is not a Genie. So keep your wishes for your genie and your prayers for your God. Put bluntly, whether you are thinking of Aladdin’s Genie or Nelson’s Jeannie you are talking about slaves serving their masters. Let’s be clear.  God is not our slave. God is our creator.  He is our Savior-Redeemer from our slavery to sin.  To help us get to know Him better, God describes himself as our Shepherd. He cares and provides.  The Apostle Paul says, “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.”(Philippians 4:19 MSG)

 

Why did God speak of Himself as a Shepherd instead of a fisherman or a hunter or whatever? In my view, it was because God saw us as his sheep, his lambs to be precise. This is a precious picture of our relationship with God.  You know what God calls his son Jesus?  That’s right, “The Lamb of God” – (John 1:29, John 1:36). It is a precious relationship because the Shepherd-Lamb relationship explains His Father-Son relationship with us too. God is Shepherd and we are His sheep, His lambs.  This Shepherd imagery establishes that father-son bond.  This can be found in the very first book of the Bible where the word lamb appears for the first time.  Remember this conversation between Isaac and his dad Abraham?

“Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”- Gen 22:7 NIV

Notice the words, “Father,”my son” and “the lamb.  There is no question, the Shepherd is about the Father, the son (the Lamb of God).  What a privilege that we should be God’s sheep or lamb along side Jesus, God’s Lamb and God Himself as our Shepherd.

 

The second mention of lamb in the Bible is in Exodus.  God instructs Moses and Aaron while they were still in Egypt, “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house… And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” – Exodus 12:3,7 KJV. This is the Lord’s Passover. The blood on the doorposts pictures the power of the blood (in anticipation of) the blood of the Lamb of God upon the cross).  In love, God shepherds an entire herd of sheep (the Israelites) from bondage out of Egypt.  The shepherd is responsible for his sheep.  When we think of God as our Shepherd we know that God cares for us, just as we find in John 10. Sheep without the care of a shepherd are exposed to all sorts of danger. God calls His leaders (priest, pastors, elders or cell-group leaders –shepherds) to feed His sheep, to be guardians of his flock.

 

The sad truth is, shepherds may fail. The prophet Ezekiel speaks clearly on this subject on God’s behalf, Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock… – Eze 34:7,8 NIV. Take note of the phrase my flock lacks a shepherd.

As a church pastor or group leader (no matter how humble that role may be) we are called to be shepherds. Ezekiel says that God’s flock lacks a shepherd, why?  Becausemy shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock.  You see, our church members, our flock of sheep may have problems. So, they go to their shepherd-leaders (to you and me) for help.  But what happens when the shepherd-leaders themselves have problems?  They lose their authority as shepherds.  So, their flock is left without a shepherd.  While we care for the sheep let us not forget that shepherds are appoint a part of the flock too. Here’s a great exhortation to all shepherds from the Apostle Paul,  28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock… 31 So be on your guard!  Acts 20:28 – 31 NIV. Shepherds need to keep watch over themselves.

 

Jesus himself took great care of his leaders (shepherds). Do you remember the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand?  Many of us would start from Mark 6:34.When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. We overlook the fact that Jesus cares for his shepherd-leaders – his apostles – the Twelve too.  We seem to forget why Jesus was on the other side of the lake. Let me take you to just three verses earlier, Then, because so many people were coming and going that they (the apostles with Jesus) did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”” Mark 6:31 NIV.  The apostle Paul clearly established this very same principle on the importance of not just the flock, but the under-shepherds when he says to the elders from the church at Ephesus, Keep watch over yourselves. The leadership (under-shepherds) comes first or we will have the situation of a flock without a shepherd. 

 

Then comes “all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God” – Acts 20:28 NIV.  It is Christ who appoints and gave us pastors.  John Piper concludes that, “The New Testament only refers to the office of pastor one time (Ephesians 4:11). It is a functional description of the role of elder stressing the care and feeding of the church as God’s flock, just as “bishop/overseer” is a functional description of the role of elder perhaps stressing the governing of the church.  Pastor and elder and bishop/overseer refer in the New Testament to the same office.” (John Piper, “Elders, Pastors, Bishops, and Bethlehem” Sunday Evening Message MARCH 2, 1987.)

While we expect our elders and pastors to care for our needs, may I urge you to stand by them.  Care for them.  They need your care more than you think!  It will make a big difference to have a caring flock; as it will be; for us to have a caring shepherd-pastor.  Believe me, your elders-pastors need your prayers most urgently than you may think.  It is your plea for God’s grace, that will provide us leaders with vision and a ministry that grow from strength to strength.

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Understanding The “Go”

When I was younger, the word “disciple” always dredged up images of dusty, bearded middle-aged men in robes, trudging along behind Jesus, as he moved from town to town preaching and healing people. The image is, of course, courtesy of the film Jesus of Nazareth, which I watched when I was about eight years old, possibly my first visual impression of what Jesus and his disciples looked like.

Jesus, ‘dat you? Image source: Pinterest

Of course now, some 35 years on, I am aware that the film, while eye-opening in many ways, did also put blinders on how I had viewed discipleship. It is also the shallow understanding of the Great Commission that many of us have, to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”. It seems like a daunting call, that requires a great sacrifice of family, career, income and often, life.

My key misunderstanding was with the word “go”. To me, it meant foreign lands, different tribes and tongues, time away from work, separation from family, poverty, hardship and even illness.

But the “go” in Matthew 28:18 does not mean any of those things. The word was written in the present continuous tense, and is meant to be read “as you go.”  That changed what discipleship meant to me. It meant that in the everyday things I do, working, taking care of my family, serving my church, I am called to be a disciple and to make disciples.

The call to discipleship that I received feels more like a mandate. I knew that above everything else that I could possibly do to serve the Lord, the one thing I had to always be doing is making disciples. The message of the Great Commission resonates with me personally, and I know that it is actually God doing the work, and I was in the privileged position of being allowed to help. It is like story Ps Rhordan shared in his book Marked to Magnify, about Ken Malmin allowing his small son to paint the fence with him (pg27). God is always looking for people to “help” him paint the fence, not because we are so good at it, but because He enjoys the relationship.

So, I am glad that I have been allowed to try and fail. I am only too aware that I don’t have all the answers and have made mistakes in discipling. In fact, I would be the first to confess that not everyone I had been in discipleship with still walks with the same fervour that they did when we first began. But I am grateful that I still have the opportunity to keep the friendship, to continue to speak life to them, and to pray for them with understanding. And through these things, God does His work. He hears, he heals, he restores, and in that, they know that there is a loving God who will always wait with open arms for his sons and daughters to come back to him.

 

If you don’t have a copy of Marked to Magnify yet, approach your LifeGroup or Ministry leader on how to get a copy. Alternatively, drop us a message here or email info@fgasingapore.org to enquire.

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The Good Shepherd (Pt 3): Believing In Miracles

The Lord is my shepherd . . . 3 He restores my soul. –  Psalm 23 ESV.

 

Believing in miracles.

In the last verse of his Gospel John writes, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:31NIV. “These things,” in our verse above, refer to the works of Jesus, His life and His miracles.  Incidentally, do you believe in miracles? John 9, the chapter before the account of The Good Shepherd (chapter 10) is about miracles.  The religious Pharisees, have resisted believing that the blind man has been healed.  Here’s what the Bible says, They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.” John 9:18 NIV.  They need to be given the evidence before they believed. So, how important is it for us to believe in miracles? It is common sense that we accept miracles when we encounter them firsthand, because then, we have no chance to deny them.  In the same way, the Pharisees believe in the miracle concerning the blind man receiving his sight, because that is what the facts say. The blind man of course also believes in the miracle because the miracle has happened to him.  He is not just a witness. He is the beneficiary of the miracle, the subject and object so to speak.

 

The Shepherd – looking for His sheep.

Now if our focus was on the miracle only, we might miss the point.  We would allow ourselves to be distracted from the main issue!  When Jesus heard that the Pharisees had thrown the blind man out, he went out and looked for the blind man.  Jesus found him.  Jesus did not ask him about the miracle, instead Jesus asked,  “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” John 9:35 NIV. Why? Is there a connection between Jesus being the Son of Man and that miracle? Do, you remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the goose that laid the golden eggs. Jack knew better. Jack wanted the goose that laid the golden eggs rather than the golden eggs themselves. The logic is simple, if you have the goose you would have the golden eggs. 

In the same way, we could be distracted by the miracles (the golden eggs as it were) and forget that it was Jesus that caused miracles to happen. To the question, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” this was the answer: 36 “Who is he, sir?” the (blind) 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. John 9:36-38 NIV.  Receiving his sight meant so much to that blind man. Yes, the blind man worshiped him, worshipped Jesus.  His focus was on Jesus, his healer not on his newly found sight, the miracle.

Now, let’s slow down a little to gather our thoughts together. John 9 is about miracles. John 10 is about Jesus – the Good Shepherd. That is the connection between John 9 and John 10. John clearly and rightly shifts our focus from the miracles Jesus did (in John 9) to where our focus should really be, on the Shepherd, on Jesus (John 10). 

 

John the Baptist – looking for the Shepherd.

This was what Jesus said of John: “Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him.”Matt 11:11 MSG.

Now, John the Baptist was very interested in the miracles of Jesus.  Was it because John himself had never performed any miracles? – John 10:41.  Not really, you see, when John was in prison he heard about the miracles of Jesus.  He asked his followers to find out from Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” – Matt 11:3, Living Bible.  You see, John saw the connection between miracles as evidence of Jesus being the Messiah. 

4 Jesus replied, “go back and report to John what you hear and see 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”Matt 11:4-6 NIV.

This was what the prophet Isaiah had prophesied, Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. – Isaiah 35:5.  In fact the entire prophecy of Isaiah was about the miracle of healing and restoration; as stated in the headline of that chapter “Joy of the Redeemed.” – NIV.  The miracles were possible because of Jesus the Messiah. We need to establish our priorities on firm ground. Miracles are important because they point us to Jesus. The focus has to be on Jesus Christ the Son of God.

 

Miracles – the Christ connection.

Here’s an example we can learn from.  Remember the woman caught in adultery who was brought before Jesus?  This was the accusation, “Teacher (Jesus), this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. John 8:4-6 NIV. We write with a pen, a pencil or a Chinese brush perhaps, but Jesus wrote with his finger.  That was what his Father in heaven had done. Here was what Moses recorded “18 And he (God) gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets . . . written with the finger of God. – Ex. 31:18 ESV.  Yes, God also wrote with his finger the seventh Commandment, 14 You shall not commit adultery.” – Exodus 20:14.  But the Ten Commandments are not a part of the Laws of Moses.  And there was no mention of stoning to death for adultery anywhere in the Bible much less in the Ten Commandments.  However there was mention of punishment of death for adultery in the Laws of Moses: ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death’Lev 20:10 NIV. But there is no mention of the method, death by stoning.  So the Jews who claimed that the woman caught in adultery has to be stoned according to the Laws of Moses, were completely wrong. They were blind-sided by their own prejudice.    

Without going to town to argue whether the Ten Commandments were a part of the Law of Moses, let me just point out that the Bible had clearly made the distinction between the Ten Commandments and the Laws of Moses.  Here was what Moses himself commanded the Levites carrying the ark of God to do, “Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.” Deut 31:26 ESV. The Laws of Moses had to be separated from the Ten Commandments – the covenant of the Lord our God!  The Ten Commandments were placed inside the ark of God and the Laws of Moses outside, by the side of the ark. Now, it was Moses who wrote The Lows of Moses as God had given him (Deut 31:24).  But God with His finger wrote the Ten Commandments. There was a huge difference!

Too often we are like the Jews who asked Jesus to pass judgment on the woman caught in adultery.  We tend to be self-righteous and judgmental. How did Jesus respond?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”- John 8 NIV.

What a great example! 

 

Our trustworthy and dependable Shepherd.

If you were brought up with the King James Bible then you will be familiar with this verse from Hebrews.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:2 KJV.

Now to a more contemporary translation of that same verse: 

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. – Heb 12:2 The Message Bible.

 

So, don’t lose sight of that exhilarating finish in and with God. Don’t be distracted by miracles.

 Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.Psalm 23:6 NIV.

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Arise, O Younger Generation, Arise

A call to us, the younger generation, have been issued. The question now is, what are we going to do about it?

As I was seeking the Lord about what to share over the anniversary weekend, the only thing that the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart was Malachi 4:5-6.

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”

As I read this, the urgent necessity of our response as a younger generation hit me hard. The fathers of our land, our parents, the elders, their hearts will turn and have been turning to their children, but as a younger generation, we need to intentionally make that active decision to turn our hearts to our fathers. This is a necessity and it’s fundamental in the family. We as a younger generation need to Honour the generations before us. And it can’t just simply be empty words or lip service. It needs to come forth in our genuine actions.

And as a church body, we know that we’ve been marked to magnify. We know that we need to make disciples that make disciples. We know that as a church, we have an apostolic calling.

But for us to do all of that, we need strong families that are grounded in His word. Strong families whose hearts are turned towards each other and aligned with the Father above. Because Discipleship truly begins at home. It needs to happen internally within our families before it happens externally with the people around us.

So to us, the younger generation, let’s make the intentional effort to turn our hearts to our fathers. Let’s bridge the man made gaps and connect heart to heart. This is fundamental in our families and it’s a necessity for such a time as this.

Pray:
1. We as a Generation, choose to repent of our old ways and turn our hearts to our parents and to the generations before us.
2. As your word says in exodus 20:12: “Honour your Father and Mother so that you may live Long in the land your God is giving to you.” Father, we choose to do so intentionally.
3. Let Honour be established in our families and let our families be turned towards each other and aligned with you.
4. We thank you for who you are to us and who we are to you. Let us your children arise to do your will for such a time as this.

Let us arise because we are marked to magnify.

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The Good Shepherd (Pt 1): My Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10: 14,15

Pastoral:
What distinguishes a Christian from other people? And we all have our own picture of what the Christian should look like in our minds. The picture that relates best to me is that described by the Apostle John. In the tenth chapter of his Gospel he paints a pastoral picture, a sheepfold with a gate. He talks about the shepherd, about sheep, thieves, robbers and the gatekeeper. Here then, are the first two verses,
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” – John 10:1,2 NIV.

It is a simple picture, a pastoral scene – the picture of a rather quiet countryside, a low fence yet high enough so that the sheep cannot get over it. The time of day . . .? Let’s say early in the morning, sunrise! Somewhere along the enclosure is a lamb, a gate, lots of sheep and a shepherd keeping watch over his sheep. But wait a minute. There is someone in the shadows. What’s he doing there? John clearly states that he is not an innocent by-stander but a thief and a robber. Look at the picture again. Can you see yourself there? No? Do you remember Psalm 23? Of course, it says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Metaphorically then, you and I are represented in one of the sheep in the picture. Christians are sheep under the loving care of Jesus our Shepherd. How can any Christian forget Psalm 23 or John 3:16! It is about the Shepherd and His love for His sheep – us Christians! David says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul . . .”

In sheep’s clothing:
The use of the word soul in “he refreshes my soul” is a direct reference to the creation of man not sheep “ . . . the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Gen. 2:7 NIV. The King James Bible says, “and the man became a living soul.” Here’s what Watchman Nee has to say about the soul. “Man is composed of two independent kinds of material: spirit and body. When the spirit entered the body of dust the soul was produced.” So there are two elements in Man, the physical and the spiritual. So, when the Shepherd leads you to green pastures beside the quiet waters He meets all your physical needs. He meets your spiritual needs when he refreshes your soul. “The Lord is my Shepherd,” is a hymn King David wrote for his God but it has inspired Christians in all generations. Among them was Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836 – 1887) the daughter of a Church of Scotland parish minister who served at Crimond in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She composed “Crimond” the tune to David’s Psalm “The Lord is my Shepherd”. It is a great picture of Psalm 23 painted not with the colors from the painter’s brush but sounds from the voice and musical instruments.

As I write about “The Lord is my Shepherd,” Handel’s alto airs from Handel’s great work the “Messiah” simply keep sneaking into my mind. It was Charles Jennens who assembled the scriptures from the Bible for Handel’s great oratorio, the “Messiah.” One of the most beautiful airs (songs) in the oratorio explains the picture in David’s Psalm 23. Handel brought in the two lovely airs sung by an alto and a soprano voice (unless of course you were Barbara Bonney who took on both airs singlehandedly). For me the words from prophet Isaiah and the Psalmist, when placed side-by-side, or together present to us a great picture of our Shepherd. Here are the words of Isaiah followed by the words of the apostle Matthew:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11 KJV
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt 11:28,29 KJV.

Whether it is John 10 or Psalm 23 or Isaiah 40, it is all about the Good Shepherd who makes us to lie down in green pastures who leads us beside quiet waters, who restores our soul, who feed us like a shepherd, who gather us with his arm, and carry us in his bosom and ye shall find rest unto your souls. What beautiful expressions of God’s tender and loving care for us – always keeping watch over us His sheep.

Here’s another curious thought! Jennens not only chose the words from the Isaiah 40 but also inserted Isaiah 35 in his recitative that introduced the two alto airs (songs) – “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. “ – Isaiah 35:5,6.

Here’s an interesting question, “What has the words, “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened . . .” in the recitative to do with, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . .” in the two arias or airs following? Remember that we started this exhortation with John 10 and it was about the Good Shepherd. It’s like asking what has John 9 to do with John 10. You see John 9 is about a man born blind. He received healing from Jesus. The apostle John writes, “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” – John 9:32 NIV. The following chapter, John 10 is about something else. It is about “The Good Shepherd.” There seems to be a serious disconnect. This is the exact same sequence adopted by Handel-Jennings. His recitative is about the blind made to see – “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened . . .” (as in Isaiah 35) is followed by the Shepherd – – “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd . . .” (as in Isaiah 40). So, is there a connection between the blind and the shepherd?

Let us return to John 9. Jesus heard that they had thrown him (the blind man) out. But Jesus found him. The Good Shepherd found the blind man. The blind man would never have recognized Jesus because he could not see the man who had healed him before he received his sight from Jesus. But then Jesus took the trouble to look for him as a shepherd would look for his lost sheep. Then, he (Jesus) said (to the blind man), “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The blind man could not recognize Jesus by sight. But the blind man recognized Jesus’ voice, ‘My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.’ – John 10:27 NIV. Here is that conversation between the man born blind and Jesus:

36 “Who is he (the Son of Man, the Healer), 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. – John 9:35-38 NIV.

Question, “Who is He?” “Do you recognize your Shepherd so that you may believe in Him? King David says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He is the one who brings healing, who restores your soul, and guides you along the right paths for His name’s sake. He is the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13,14), the one given dominion and glory and a kingdom. He is the son of David (Matt 21:9), the fulfillment of the prophecy of the seed of David, the son of God (Psalm 2:7), the promised Messiah. That’s who He is. Praise the Lord God Almighty!

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