Reflection Questions: How to Heal the Blind (Introduction to John 9)

Reflection Questions: How to Heal the Blind (Introduction to John 9)
  1. At the end of Sunday’s message, I spoke of three kinds of trees that illustrate three kinds of believers. I paired these with the three things the early Church devoted themselves to in Acts 2:42. Oak trees are strong because they have deep roots. ‘Oak’ believers love to go really deep with God’s Word! They draw the most strength from the “apostle’s teaching.” Redwoods are also strong, but their roots are quite shallow. They draw their strength from their close proximity to other redwoods. ‘Redwood’ believers fall asleep during my sermons, but they really find God in the community of the saints! They draw their primary strength from “fellowship, the breaking of bread.” Cypress trees just reach for the sky! For these believers, “the prayers” are their greatest source of strength. Now, let’s be clear: all believers need all three of these sources of strength: the Word, fellowship and prayer. But we each have one with which we really thrive and flourish. So, discuss this analogy. Go around the room and ask: ‘What kind of a tree are you and why?’
  2. Do you think it’s true that our greatest healing comes through our relationships with (1) the Word, (2) one another, and (3) God Himself? How have you found healing in these?
  3. James 5:13-15 has been greatly misused and misunderstood because of some less than clear translations. How does it change things to know that the word “sick” in 5:14 means a ‘weakness of any kind,’ not necessarily a physical sickness? It can mean to have a weak moral constitution (Romans 14:2), or to be spiritually weak (Romans 14:1), or even economically weak (Acts 20:35). Then there’s the word “sick” in 5:15. This is a different Greek word, one that simply means to be tired, weary or fatigued (see Hebrews 12:3). How does that change things? Knowing this, what is 5:15 actually promising? Why does James instruct the ‘weak’ and weary’ to call for the elders? Why are ‘anointing’ and ‘prayer’ by the elders significant?
  4. I mentioned three reasons to pray for the sick: Christ-like compassion (Matthew 14:14), obedience (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16), and in order to get on the ‘same page’ as God. What does that last point mean? How does prayer help us to orient ourselves to the sovereignty of God (Luke 22:42)? I said, “We should never pray with an eye toward changing God’s mind. We pray so that God might change ours.” Do you agree? Discuss.