By Denton Josey, Page Editor
Memories of Lectureship past were shared through a slideshow as Dr. Jack Reese, dean of the college of Biblical Studies, opened the university’s 89th Annual Bible Lectureship.
Because it is the first Lectureship to take place in the fall, Reese used pictures of snowy landscapes to remind the audience of how severe the weather had been during past Lectureships. He also made the point that Sunday’s rainy weather prevented several speakers from making it to Abilene, including worship leader Keith Lancaster.
Before Reese spoke, a dramatic reading of scripture from the book of John was read.
The theme for Lectureship, “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” comes from John 9:21, Reese began in John 9 and spoke on the phrase “I Was Blind, But Now I See.”
Reese said there is something more complex to the story of Jesus healing the blind man, something “frankly, more disturbing” than merely the healing of a blind man.
He said how God used the blind man to teach the Pharisees about how they treated people.
“Do we have to find a place for him? Do we have to include him with us?” Reese said, paralleling the Pharisees’ reluctance to care for the blind man with the common tendency to ignore certain people in society that aren’t like most Christians.
Jesus, Reese said, was not afraid to go to the people with no face value. Trying to welcome people to us using all sorts of gimmicks but not knowing anyone outside of us is ineffective, he said. People who don’t know Jesus, Reese said, aren’t being reached when Christians don’t meet them where they are.
In the end, Reese explained Jesus told the Pharisees they were the ones who were blind, not the man who had been healed of physical blindness.
“Perhaps today those harsh words of judgment might become words of power and grace for those of us with eyes,” Reese said.
The lecture concluded with Reese gathering up his notes and Bible as he said, “For those who have eyes to see…”
The 89th Annual Lectureship will have theme lecturers every evening, followed by Lectureship Late Night events.