Have you ever had a deep truth hit you right between the eyes? A truth you have skimmed over before in Scripture, but because you could not see it, God just plants it in a place you cannot focus—smack in the furrowed brow between the windows to your soul. It is a moment during which you set your Bible down and say, “Wow!”
I recently experienced one of these “in between” epiphanies while reading in between John 9 and John 11. Nestled in the middle of a chapter about physical and spiritual blindness and a chapter about raising a man from the dead, Jesus throws a metaphorical stone into a body of truth water that creates ripples for eternity. Ripples of truth, my friend, that you and I need to hear today.
Allow me to set the scene.
In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth. The Pharisees are outraged over His actions because one, they don’t like Jesus since he is a threat to their authority, and two, he healed the man on the Sabbath which is also a threat to their religious rules and pride. Then Jesus does what only Jesus can do. He transcends a physical miracle into a spiritual reality and, subsequently, calls the Pharisees out on their spiritual blindness.
“‘I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.’ Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, ‘Are you saying we’re blind?’ ‘If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,’ Jesus replied. ‘But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.’”
John 9:39-41 NLT
Spiritual blindness means living in the dark no matter how enlightened you may be. Only the light of Christ can penetrate the thick blackness of a mind void of truth.
Fast forward to John 11 in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, a sign that points toward His future resurrection as well as His followers’ current state of belief. The parallels to God’s plan beyond the cross are striking; devout women mourning their brother’s loss, a people seemingly without hope, a stone covering the tomb that must be rolled away, a body raised without decay, and all for the glory of God so His children will believe.
“Jesus responded, ‘Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?’ So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.’”
John 11:40-42 NLT
Perhaps no one yet knows or understands the life we find in Christ more than Lazarus. He died in his sin and awoke once more in the darkness of a tomb, only to hear the literal call of Christ on his very life and arise to new breath. Only the love of Christ can penetrate a body decaying from sin and give it new life.
And so it is in the in between of darkness and life that we must find Jesus and the evidence of His miraculous power to resurrect lost and disheartened souls to new life.
John 10 is the scriptural equivalent of where we often find ourselves living in the in between of darkness and life. It is where the Good Shepherd recognizes our struggle to simply believe. So he points us to the evidence.
“Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
John 10:37-38 NLT
Jesus is the key to unlocking the door of our empty tomb from the inside out. When we believe, He is the One who transcends our understanding in the dark to our living in the light.
Yet Jesus understood the canyon of doubt we must all cross to fully surrender our faith unto Him and not unto ourselves. He knew we would struggle with spiritual blind spots on occasion, so He graciously reminds us in John 10 to focus and believe in the evidence of His works when we are struggling with faith in Him.
Then Jesus does two very telling things. First, He goes back to visit the place of His baptism, the event that marked the beginning of His ministry. Second, He raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus points to the evidence and, subsequently, many believe.
Ironically, following His return to the Jordan River in John 10, John 11 marks the end of Jesus’ public ministry as He retreats to the wilderness with His disciples.
“So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.”
John 11:53-54 NLT
From John 11 to John 12 Jesus transitions from ministry to mission. He goes from public teaching and preaching to private sharing and preparing for His death and resurrection. Up until this transition, Jesus was always able to escape the plots of the Pharisees, but His time had come and His mission remained incomplete until the cross became our doorway back to the Father’s embrace.
Living in the in between of darkness and life requires coming back to the foot of the cross for the evidence. It means stretching as far back as Genesis to find Jesus and His miraculous works, and gazing into the final sunset of Revelation when the Son Himself will be our light. It means being honest with ourselves, others, and Jesus when we have trouble believing in the goodness of God.
Living in the in between of spiritual darkness and abundant life becomes a question of faith. Do you believe in the One calling you out of the darkness of your own tomb? And do you believe Him even if?
Search the scriptures. Scan the chapters of your life. Find the evidence. He is there in the in between.
To turn these words to worship, I encourage you to look up the song “Evidence” by Josh Baldwin.