Testimony of Man Born Blind—Part 2 Bolder and Articulate

Living in the Image of God M02S15

A man born blind received sight from Jesus and was motivated by appreciation to tell his story. Initially, he knew only the facts of his healing but did not understand what they meant regarding Jesus. He understood better as he discussed his experience more with others. In several interactions with the Pharisees, they pressured him to change his account to discredit or deny the healing but he was determined to protect the facts. He repeated the story more boldly and with greater clarity each time. The story led him incrementally to discover his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah.

Testimony of Man Born Blind 2of2 8:03

This bible study concludes our discussion of the testimony of a man born blind that received sight through an encounter with Jesus. As we discuss previously under Testimony of Man Born Blind—Part 1 Motivated by Appreciation, his appreciation for receiving sight motivated him to tell his story. He told his neighbors and other relations, sharing with them a factual account of his healing, but he did not yet know Jesus that healed him.

His neighbors took him to the Pharisees and he repeated his story to them several times. The Pharisees tried to persuade him to change his account to discredit or deny the healing. However, he insisted on the facts. Furthermore, he told the story more boldly each time and with greater clarity regarding Jesus (John 9:13–34).

First, the Pharisees tried to use the fact that the healing occurred on a Sabbath but couldn’t agree among themselves. Second, they questioned his parents, expecting to establish the man was not the blind person they knew. However, his parents confirmed it was him but did not try to explain how he gained sight. Third, the Pharisees tried unsuccessfully to persuade the man that Jesus was a sinner. Finally, they questioned him again and used his answer as a pretext to expel him from synagogue.

He met Jesus again thereafter, understood him more clearly, and became better prepared to continue with his mission of explaining to others that Jesus is the Messiah. Thus, within a period of no more than a few days, the man progressed from being an insignificant member of society to standing toe-to-toe against the Teachers of the Law, proclaiming to them and others that Jesus is the Messiah. All because of his appreciation for receiving sight and motivation to tell others about his experience.

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Testimony of Man Born Blind—Part 1 Motivated by Appreciation

Living in the Image of God M02S14

A man born blind and given sight by Jesus was motivated by appreciation to tell his story. He told his neighbors and other relations: that Jesus gave him sight, by soiling his eyes and directing him to wash in a pool. He knew the facts but was yet to understand what they meant regarding Jesus. He will understand better subsequently, as his story developed into a mission to tell others about Jesus. Thus, he was propelled by appreciation onto a gospel mission.

Testimony of Man Born Blind 1of2 7:53

We discuss the testimony of a man born blind based on bible accounts of his interactions with others after he received sight through an encounter with Jesus (John 9:1–34). In appreciation for receiving sight, he was motivated to tell his story. As we discuss in a previous study under Human Relationship with God Regarding Work, telling his story became a Gospel mission that he discovered incrementally as he interacted with others.

First, he testified to his neighbors and other relations. Subsequently, his neighbors took him to the Pharisees, also known as the Teachers of the Law, and he gave testimonies in several interactions with them. His audience grew as he testified to different groups. Also, he showed better understanding of his message as he interacted more with others regarding his healing.

The man was blind from birth but received sight during this encounter with Jesus. Several events that occurred following the healing led him incrementally to a mission to proclaim Jesus is the Messiah. His appreciation for receiving sight motivated him to tell his story and propelled him to the mission. He told the story several times: more boldly and with greater clarity each time.

We will present the study in two parts. In the current session, we discuss Christ explanation of God’s purpose for the man’s blindness and the man receiving sight and testifying about the healing to his neighbors and other relations.

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Testimony of Appreciation

Living in the Image of God M02S13

Christ instruction to a man freed from demons conveys a message of giving testimony in appreciation of favor. Whether the favor is delivered direct from God or channeled through another person, the recipient is called to tell others about the favor, tell them about the benefactor, and tell them about God. A testimony of appreciation helps the benefactor understand they made positive impact, motivates all to seek to be good to others, and inspires better understanding of human relationship with God through what he has done for others in a given situation.

Testimony of Appreciation 6:00

Based on Christ instruction to a man freed from demons (Mark 5:19), we discuss a message of giving testimony in appreciation of favor. The message calls on every favor recipient to give testimony regarding his or her appreciation. The favor could be delivered direct from God, such as Hannah giving birth to Samuel; or channeled through a person that provides goods or service to benefit another. Whichever the case, the recipient is called to tell others about the favor, tell them about the benefactor, and tell them about God. Also, the recipient is called to tell the benefactor as well, privately or among other people.

Such a testimony will inspire the benefactor to understand they made positive impact by providing goods or service to benefit others. Also, the testimony will motivate goodness in the benefactor and others and inspire them to understand what God has done for people in given situations. As a result, a testimony of appreciation increases opportunities to propagate the long-term benefits of human service.

In a previous bible study under Christ Teaches Appreciation—Man Freed from Demons, we discuss Christ interactions with the man freed of demons to understand the circumstances of Christ’s instruction. In this bible study, we focus on the instruction to understand that it applies and how it applies to every recipient of favor, delivered direct or channeled through others.

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Christ Teaches Appreciation—Man Freed from Demons

Living in the Image of God M02S12

Through interactions with a man freed from demons, Christ conveys a message that a recipient of favor is called to testify publicly to share appreciation with others. The man showed appreciation by requesting to follow Jesus physically. However, Jesus sent him home instead, with instruction to testify among his people regarding what God had done for him. Public testimony conveys appreciation to the benefactor and shares positive message to others regarding favor and appreciation, thus inspiring them to do more likewise and initiating the long-term benefits of human service.

Christ Teaches Appreciation—Man Freed from Demons 7:14

We discuss Christ interactions with a man freed from demons (Mark 5:1–20) to understand that public testimony regarding appreciation is important to God. He wants a recipient of favor to testify publicly to share his or her appreciation with others. The man freed from demons regained control of himself and wanted to follow Jesus physically. However, Jesus sent him home instead, with instruction to testify among his people regarding what God had done for him.

Testifying among his people was an opportunity to share the message of what God had done for him and present himself as an example of God’s favor provided to a human being through his son Jesus. As we discuss previously in Understanding Appreciation, a favor by another human person is a favor from God because he positions and empowers others to represent him in human interactions: whereby every person could function as the channel for God’s favor to another. Therefore, lessons learned from Christ interactions with a recipient of direct favor from God provide a basis for understanding God’s expectations of recipients of human favor.

Furthermore, as we discuss in Understanding Appreciation, a public testimony regarding appreciation conveys gratitude to the benefactor and shares positive message to others regarding a benefit received, the human provider of the benefit, and an understanding that God positioned and empowered the benefactor to perform the favor. Such a message inspires the benefactor and others to do more likewise, thus initiating and propagating the long-term benefits of human service. Therefore, testimony regarding appreciation is important to God as a key aspect of his purpose for human interactions and relationships.

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Christ Teaches Appreciation—Man Healed of Leprosy

Living in the Image of God M02S11

Interactions with a man healed from leprosy convey a message that God expects a recipient of favor (benefit provided by others) to appreciate the favor, appreciate the benefactor, and appreciate God for empowering the benefactor. Further, he expects the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Also, his expectation of a favor recipient is the same even for those that could claim the favor as an entitlement. The man was one of ten healed in the event but he alone returned to give thanks. Christ criticized the nine but acknowledged the one and confirmed his faith had healed him.

Christ Teaches Appreciation—Man Healed of Leprosy 7:56

We discuss Christ interactions with a man healed of leprosy to understand that God expects appreciation from every recipient of favor (i.e., benefit provided by others) and expects the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Even if the favor is done to fulfill an entitlement, God expects appreciation and testimony from the recipient. As we discuss previously in Understanding Appreciation, appreciation means thankful recognition of benefits received, the human provider of the benefits, and God that empowers the provider. Testimony regarding appreciation provides opportunity to share the information with others and inspire them (especially the benefactor) to do more likewise.

The man was one of a group of ten men that Christ healed from leprosy during the event. However, only the one man (a foreigner) returned to give thanks. The other nine did not return. Jesus criticized the nine for failing to return to show appreciation, notwithstanding they could claim to be entitled to the favor because they were Jews from Israel. We learn from his criticism that their response differs from what God expects of a favor recipient. In contrast, his interactions with the one man that returned convey a message that appreciation and testimony regarding appreciation are important to God.

Appreciation pleases God. He wants every recipient of favor to appreciate the favor, appreciate the benefactor, and appreciate God for empowering the benefactor. Furthermore, he wants the recipient to show appreciation by giving testimony. Also, his expectation of a favor recipient is the same even for those that could claim the favor as an entitlement.

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Understanding Appreciation

Living in the Image of God M02S10

Appreciation means thankful recognition of benefits received, the human provider of the benefits, and God that empowers the provider—a three-step interaction that begins with the benefits, continues through the benefactor, and on to God. Appreciation occurs in the heart and seeks outward expression through testimony, thereby inspiring others to do more likewise; motivates hunger and thirst for righteousness and, thus, initiates the long-term benefits of human service; and breeds humility and happiness. Appreciate the intrinsic value of a person as God’s representative in human interactions and you will be happy you do.

Understanding Appreciation 9:51

This bible study discusses the meaning of appreciation, starting with the dictionary definition and expanding on it to understand more. We discuss appreciation as a three-step interaction that begins with thankful recognition of benefits received, continues through the benefactor, and on to God. We note that all the steps and their sequence are important for appreciation to be effective and impactful. We discuss the value of testimony for expressing and sharing appreciation and note that the beneficiary testimony regarding appreciation can inspire the benefactor and others to do more likewise. Let a person know their good deed is appreciated and they are more likely to do more for you and others.

Also, as we discuss in a previous study under Christ Teaches Appreciation—Woman with Persistent Bleeding, Christ teaches appreciation by creating opportunity for public testimony or directing the beneficiary to go and testify publicly. Further, to discuss the value of appreciation, we note that appreciation motivates hunger and thirst for righteousness and, by doing so, initiates the long-term benefits of human service. Also, we note that appreciation breeds humility and humility breeds appreciation. Similarly, appreciation breeds happiness and happiness breeds appreciation.

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Christ Teaches Appreciation—Woman with Persistent Bleeding

Living in the Image of God M02S09

Interactions with woman healed of persistent bleeding indicate testimony and appreciation are important to God as opportunities to initiate long-term benefits to an increasing population. The woman was healed privately by touching Jesus and could have gone home without interacting with the public if healing her was the only important outcome. However, Jesus stopped activities until she testified publicly and showed appreciation. Her appreciation and testimony were important for motivating her and others to hunger and thirst for righteousness, thus initiating benefits of the healing that potentially could reach countless others.

Christ Teaches Appreciation—Woman with Persistent Bleeding 8:15

The bible provides two events from which we can discern Christ teaching on appreciation. In each event, his teaching on appreciation is conveyed through interactions with a healing recipient. The current study focuses on his interactions with a woman healed from persistent bleeding. The woman was healed privately by touching Jesus. However, after the healing, he provided opportunity for her to testify and show appreciation publicly. After she testified and showed appreciation, he declared that she was healed and released her to go in peace.

The woman could have gone home in peace without interacting with the public after she was healed privately by touching Christ’s garment. However, there was more to her healing that Christ wanted her to share with every person.

We discuss the interactions to understand that her appreciation and public testimony were important for providing an opportunity to initiate the long-term benefits of her healing. As we discuss in a previous study under Call to Appreciation of Compassion, her appreciation would motivate her to be good to others that would, in turn, motivate yet others to do likewise. Furthermore, her public testimony would inspire others to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Thus, her appreciation and public testimony were an opportunity to initiate benefits of the healing that potentially could reach countless others over endless time.

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Call to Appreciation of Compassion

Living in the Image of God M02S08

When God calls a person to provide goods or service to benefit another, he also calls the other to appreciate the act of compassion. Appreciation initiates a process toward realizing the long-term benefits of human service by motivating a hunger to be good to others, sensitivity to others’ needs, and a disposition to accept and complete responsibility in a subsequent call to compassion. Thus, appreciation unlocks the long-term benefits of human service by empowering the receiver of an act of compassion to motivate self and others as the initiating link in a potentially infinite network of provider-receiver relationships.

Call to Appreciation of Compassion 9:48

A call to compassion invokes a complementary call to appreciation. That is, when God calls a person to provide for the needs of another, he also calls the other to appreciate the act of compassion. Thus, a call to compassion establishes a provider-receiver relationship and assigns responsibility to the candidate provider as well as the candidate receiver. Your responsibility as the candidate provider is to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to doing what you can, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. The receiver responsibility is to appreciate the act of compassion. That is, receive the provided goods or service with appreciation.

Appreciation initiates a process toward realizing the long-term benefits of human service. An act of compassion provides a short-term benefit of addressing the immediate need of the beneficiary and, in addition, sows the seed for long-term benefits that are dependent on the receiver’s appreciation. By appreciating the act of compassion, the receiver is motivated to seek to be good to others and sensitive to their needs. As a result, he or she is motivated to accept and complete responsibility in a future call to compassion. By doing so, he or she motivates another that motivates yet another: in a potentially infinite network of provider-receiver relationships. Thus, appreciation motivates the receiver of human service to “go and do likewise” [Luke 10:37] toward fulfilling God’s purpose for the distribution of human service.

This bible study focuses on understanding the relationship between compassion and appreciation in fulfilling God’s purpose for provider-receiver relationships among people. Subsequent studies will discuss Christ teaching and other information in the bible to understand the role of appreciation in human interactions and relationships.

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Blessing Does Not Seek Perfection

Living in the Image of God M02S07

The invitation to earn blessing through human service is open to every person irrespective of sin or righteousness. A person can earn blessing despite existing promise of punishment. Also, a person can incur punishment despite existing promise of blessing. Thus, one does not need to be perfect to earn blessing. Blessing and punishment are parallel promises of God, may coexist for a person, and will be fulfilled separately by God’s schedule as if for different people, excepting the forgiveness of punishment through repentance.

Blessing Does Not Seek Perfection 8:45

This bible study seeks further understanding of God’s invitation to every person to earn blessing by providing goods or services to benefit others. The invitation is open to all, irrespective of existing sin or righteousness. Further, God will fulfill every promise of blessing according to his schedule, irrespective of any incurred punishment. Consistent with his promise in the 2nd commandment, a promise of blessing can coexist with a promise of punishment and will endure through offspring generations.

Blessing and punishment are parallel promises of God and may coexist. A person can earn blessing despite an existing promise of punishment. Also, a person can incur punishment despite an existing promise of blessing. That means a person does not need to be perfect in order to earn blessing. Each promise will be fulfilled separately according to God’s schedule as if for a different person.

We discuss the 2nd commandment to link its promise with the coexistence of blessing and punishment. Also, we discuss several examples from the ancestral lineage of Jesus to understand the fulfillment of parallel promises.

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Accumulation of Blessing

Living in the Image of God M02S06

God creates every person with opportunities to earn independent blessing by completing responsibilities as his representative in human interactions; based on conditional promise proclaimed in the Beatitudes and explained through parables. Additionally, a person can receive dependent blessing through prayers by others, inherit blessing from previous family generations, or be blessed in other ways as God chooses. Every blessing accumulates and will be fulfilled at its time. Furthermore, blessing and punishment can coexist as parallel promises of God and do not trade-off against each other.

Accumulation of Blessing 9:32

Every person will have opportunities to receive independent blessing based on God’s conditional promise, dependent blessing that God grants to a person in response to prayers by others, inherited blessing from previous family generations, or other blessing that God grants as he chooses.

Every blessing is a promise to be fulfilled at its time, for the person directly or through offspring generations (e.g., “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” [Exodus 20:6]). As we discuss previously under Parallel Promises—in David-Bathsheba Relationship, blessing and punishment can coexist as parallel promises of God. They do not trade-off against each other. Each will be fulfilled separately when God chooses. A person that previously earned blessing could incur punishment. Also, a person can earn blessing even with a promise of punishment hanging on him or her.

For example, the Moabites displeased God by presenting themselves as a source of temptation for alternative worship among descendants of Israel. Furthermore, they presented enmity when their prior relationships with Israel called on them to be friendly (see more under Enduring Blessing—Lessons from Israelite-Moabite Interactions). God frowned on their behavior and prohibited descendants of Israel from intermingling with Moabites. Yet he chose Ruth, a Moabite daughter, as a parental link in the lineage of the Messiah.

We discuss the various opportunities to earn and accumulate blessing. Also, we discuss an example from David to illustrate coexistence and fulfillment of blessing and punishment as parallel promises of God.

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