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It saddens me. It puzzles me more than a bit. I know that I am at risk of doing it as well, so I want to be cautious and gracious. But I want to think well about Jesus and what he does.

Jesus heals people. Of that I am certain. Jesus changes lives. Many can testify of his presence and power in their lives. What saddens me is when any one of us who has been touched by Jesus end up making too much of the mud. Let me explain.

One day, around Jerusalem, Jesus encountered a blind man (the account is found in John 9). Jesus spat on the ground, mad some mud out of the clay of the ground and his spittle, applied the mud to the blind man’s eyes, and told to him to go and wash in a certain pool. The man went to the pool blind, but he left the pool seeing. Amazing. Wonderful. Jesus did that!

As Jesus was travelling from Jericho, he encountered a blind man (the account is found in Mark 10). Jesus called to him and spoke to him. The man approached Jesus blind, but he began following Jesus seeing. Amazing. Wonderful. Jesus did that!

Jesus heals blinds people. He does that. Literally, he has before and still brings healing to those who cannot physically see. But Jesus also heals spiritually blind people. He does that. He opens the eyes of the heart and those who were dead to God and who could not see spiritual truth end up seeing.

He used mud for one and not for the other. We could discuss why. We could explore the significance of the way he ministered to each. But I don’t think we should make much of the mud. It wasn’t the mud, it was Jesus. I am glad that there didn’t end up being a split among the followers of Jesus–the “mudites” and the “anti-mudites.”

“In order to see, you must have mud applied to your eyes. Then you have to go and wash in the pool. If you don’t do that you aren’t really ever going to see.”

“What are you talking about? All Jesus did was call to me and speak to me. You have to have him call to you and you have to hear him speak to have your eyesight restored.”

Fortunately, no one made much of the mud . . . or the alternative. They made much of Jesus.

The formerly blind man of Jericho ended up following Jesus. The formerly blind man in Jerusalem ended up worship Jesus. That was right. They didn’t make much of the mud.

Some first come to faith at a crusade, hearing the message of the Gospel and encountering Jesus in the proclaimed Word. Some met Jesus going forward to a kneeling bench, responding to an invitation to respond to the tug of the Spirit. But it wasn’t the crusade. It wasn’t the going forward. It was Jesus. He was there. He did that. He saved.

Some find deliverance from struggles in a caring group setting. Some find their hearts dancing in new joy and freedom through an encounter with the Spirit in worship or a time when others prayed over them. But it wasn’t the group. It wasn’t the worship service or style. It was Jesus. He was there. He did that. He brought life and freedom.

I am glad for all the variegated and creative and grace-filled ways our good Jesus rescues people from sin and death. I delight in every story of Jesus’ power and wisdom transforming lives and bringing healing. But I don’t want to make much of the mud.

This book is helpful if it points me to Jesus and I make much of him in it. That teaching is beneficial if it points me to Jesus and I make much of him through it. Some particular spiritual practice is healthy if it points me to Jesus and I find it easier to make much of him because of it.

But let’s not make too much of the mud.

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2 Comments

  1. Ahh, yes! This is such a good way of putting this sentiment into words…

  2. Thanks, Juliana! I know how Jesus has moved in my life during my days with him and there is such a tendency at times to privilege what he did with me as THE way that he will do what he does in everyone’s life. I’m hoping, in my own journey, to not make too much of the mud but to always make much of Jesus.


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