Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #298 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 9 today and our focus is on Why Do Bad Things Happen to People That Don’t Deserve It? (As much as other people do…). We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
I hope you indulge me asking for prayer today, as my dear wife Janet is having fairly major surgery bright and early in morning. Please do pray for Janet – she is a lovely wife, and mom of five kids, so pray for her quick recovery, and successful surgery with good news because the household might get kind of scary while she recuperates!
Today’s question is a very, very big and important question, and it comes to us in the form of this amazing blind man who encounters Jesus in John 9. This guy is one of my favorite people in all of Scripture. He is sharp, funny, sarcastic and all about Jesus. As a reminder of the story, this man was born blind, and Jesus encounters him and heals him, which angers the Pharisees and religious leaders. Why does this anger them? Because Jesus heals the blind man on the Sabbath. Is it unbiblical or unlawful or wrong to heal on the Sabbath – OF COURSE NOT, but the Pharisees are just inventing things and making up rules as they go along, so they interrogate the blind guy to try and figure out how Jesus – an obvious sinner and charlatan because He broke their dumb and unbiblical laws – how a “SINNER” like Jesus could heal somebody born blind. There is an amazing back and forth with this blind guy, and his parents get involved and all of that, but it basically ends like this:
24 So a second time they summoned the man who had been blind and told him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether or not he’s a sinner, I don’t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 “I already told you,” he said, “and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?” 28 They ridiculed him: “You’re that man’s disciple, but we’re Moses’s disciples. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But this man—we don’t know where he’s from.” 30 “This is an amazing thing!” the man told them. “You don’t know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he listens to him. 32 Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.” 34 “You were born entirely in sin,” they replied, “and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out. John 9:24-34
This is awesome – this guy nails the Pharisees better than pretty much anybody in the Bible except Jesus.
But that’s not what we are talking about today. Rather, about Jesus’ answer to the disciples most important question:
As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3
In other words, they are asking: why do bad things happen to people? Why do bad things happen to good people and not to bad people? Sometimes we phrase the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But that question is a bit flawed, because “there is no one righteous, not even one,” according to the Bible. But there are people who at least appear to be relatively good and those that appear to be relatively bad. Why do some seemingly good teachers, doctors, moms, paramedics, nurses and librarians suffer sickness, disability and terrible trials, while other seemingly bad drug dealers, crooked businesspeople, money driven oligarchs and abusers seemingly enjoy less trials? These are some of life’s biggest questions, and the answers can be complex, because there can be many reasons for suffering, such as:
- Bad things sometimes happen to good people for God’s ultimate glory. John 9: 1 As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples questioned Him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.
- Sometimes bad things happen to comparatively good people for the purpose of discipline: Hebrews 12 “7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons.” That discipline is not meant to destroy, but to shape you and build character. It can be a sign that you are God’s child.
- Sometimes bad things happen to seemingly good people for growth/perseverance/hope Romans 5“3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”
- Sometimes bad things happen to good people for the spread of the Gospel and maturity of the church. “My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.” Galatians 4:19
- Often bad things happen to good people for inexplicable and unexplained in this lifetime reasons. (See: Job/Jeremiah) READ Acts 14: “19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. 21 After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.” SAYS THE JUST STONED GUY.
We may also wonder why bad things don’t immediately happen to bad people, right? But we can rest in the assured knowledge that God is a God of justice – ultimate justice. He will not let the guilty go unpunished. As God says in Isaiah 13:
Thus I will punish the world for its evil
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud
And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.
and also all through the New Testament, such as in:
2nd Thessalonians 1:9
These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Though some “bad” people might escape punishment for a moment, unless they repent, turn to Jesus and are washed of their sins, they will pay for their evil acts over the course of many, many lifetimes. God will not let the vile go unpunished – His justice is perfect. Let’s read our chapter.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Baptist Church in North Salinas, California.
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