Transcript:                    Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest is Pastor Robert Thibodeau, who goes by Bob. Been in ministry for 25 years, and he’s the author of the new book, Blind Faith. Greetings from, I guess you’re in Maryland, right?

Bob Thibodeau:            Yes, that’s correct, Baltimore, Maryland.

David Brower:              All right. I’m in beautiful downtown Colorado. Good to talk to you, Bob. Tell us about this book a little bit. How did it come about, and a little bit more about your background. I know you were in the Army. Thank you for your service.

Bob Thibodeau:            Thank you.

David Brower:              Retired police. Thank you for your service.

Bob Thibodeau:            Yes.

David Brower:              Along the way, in your spare time, you were a pastor for 25 years. How did all that work out? How did that all transpire?

Bob Thibodeau:            Well, actually, I’ve been in the ministry in some form or fashion for 25 years. I was assistant pastor at several churches. In 2001, we moved out here to Baltimore from Texas, and in the process of doing that, having a, not a difficult time finding a church, but just not one that we felt comfortable in, so we started our own church.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            That lasted for a couple of years until I got promoted in the police department aspect, and that started taking more of my time that I felt personally that I could not give the parishioners as much dedication as what I should be able to do be a pastor. We merged our church with another friend of mine. I guess it’s kind of like being a judge or a senator or something. Once you have that title, it just sticks, so everyone just kept calling me Pastor Bob.

David Brower:              It does. Coaches are the same way. I’ve known this coach for years that’s been retired for years, and I will never call him anything else but coach.

Bob Thibodeau:            Amen.

David Brower:              I totally get that.

Bob Thibodeau:            Well, in my ministry, the way I minister the word, I like telling stories. Jesus was a storyteller. I just found it always interesting to dig into the characters a little bit. I’ve got stories on Elijah, just all these different characters. This one day, as I was studying the scriptures about Jesus putting the mud on the blind man’s eyes and then told him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam,” just let’s look at this. We always study the miracle and all that. What about this guy? Where did he come from? What’s his story?

It says right there that he’s been blind from birth, and so that means he’s never been able to contribute anything to society and his family. Now he’s old, and his family has been having to take care of him. They take him every morning to drop him off at the gate. They go to work, and they come back and pick him up on the way home. His job is to sit there and collect as much as he can from offerings, alms, from people going into the temple, and that’s his contribution to the family to take care of him.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            He’s been blind, and he knows other blind people, as well. He keeps hearing these stories about this guy named Jesus that heals blind people, too. Talk about Blind Bartimaeus. That’s probably a buddy of his. Jerusalem isn’t that big. He knows people in the same condition he’s in. Bartimaeus comes over, “This Jesus guy, he’s great.”

He’s like, “Golly.” He’s probably bugging his family, “Hey, take me to find this Jesus guy. Find out where he’s preaching at. I want to go.” “We’re not wasting our time to take you all the way over there. There’s crowds of people over there. You’ll never get to see him, anyway. Just forget about it.”

David Brower:              Yes. Dude, you’re blind. You can’t see him.

Bob Thibodeau:            Right. He wants to see him, but he just doesn’t have anybody to take him over there, so every day he’s sitting there. One day, he hears a little bit of a commotion with a crowd going by. He’s wondering what’s going on. He hears the same comment or question that he’s heard his whole life, “Who sinned? This guy in a prior life, or his parents that caused him to be born blind?” He’s heard that his whole life.

This time, he hears a different response. He goes, “He didn’t sin, nor his parents. He’s like this to give God glory.” He’s probably thinking about that like, “Wow, that’s a weird response. I haven’t heard that one before.” About that time, this guy’s putting mud on his eyes. If it was me, I’d have probably been swinging.

David Brower:              Yes. That’s exactly what I was visualizing. I’m knocking you out, dude.

Bob Thibodeau:            Exactly. I may be blind, but I could still hit you.

David Brower:              Right.

Bob Thibodeau:            There was something about what’s going on. Jesus probably had a soothing voice, telling him, “Just chill out for a minute.” He puts this mud on his eyes, “Now, go wash in the pool of Siloam.” Well, where he was at going in at the gate beautiful, that is on the other side of town. Now, there’s a pool right around the corner from where they are. Jesus didn’t tell him, “Go there.” He told him to go all the way across Jerusalem to the other side of town to the pool.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            Now, remember, he doesn’t have anybody to take him there.

David Brower:              Well, I was just going to ask. It’s not like he had GPS or something.

Bob Thibodeau:            That’s right. The pools on each end of the temple complex were what we would call baptismal pools. They’re just ceremonial pools.

David Brower:              Okay.

Bob Thibodeau:            People would change. Some churches had the baptismal garments, so people would change into these garments and they’d walk down in the water, go underwater, come back up as a ceremonial cleansing before they went into the temple area to give their offerings.

Because he was blind, that’s a main type of condition, he was never allowed in the temple. He had never been in the temple, so he’d never been in the ceremonial pool. Well, he’s got to walk all the way across town. He probably goes three, four, 10 steps and stops and asks someone, “Which way to go? How do I get there?” He’s had to answer all the way across town, “Where are you going? Why are you going over there? Why are you going to the pool? You can’t get into the temple.”

David Brower:              Well, does he still have mud in his eyes? That would be the other question, right?

Bob Thibodeau:            Exactly, yes, and then they say, “What’s that on your face? Who put it on there? Why did he do that? You’re crazy.” Some went probably, “Well, come on, I’ll take you a little way. I’ve got to go this way.”

He slowly makes his way across town and finally gets to where the pool is at, and there’s a long line, actually, as there would be going into the temple. They’re asking him the same questions. “Who put mud on your face? Why are you here? You’re not supposed to be in this line. They’re not going to let you in the temple.” He’s still giving the testimony. Every step, he’s going by faith. “Jesus told me to go to the pool of Siloam and I would see.”

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            That’s his testimony. Every step, every time somebody helps him down to the next corner of the block, they’re asking him the same questions over and over. What this is doing is reinforcing that spirit of faith in him.

David Brower:              Well, the other thing, and I think it’s pun intended, blind faith.

Bob Thibodeau:            Exactly, and that’s the name of the book.

David Brower:              Right? Exactly. Yes. You got me captivated, man. Keep going.

Bob Thibodeau:            Well, he gets to the pool of Siloam, and there’s this long line there and they’re teasing him, ridiculing him and mocking him. When it comes time for him to step down into the pool, I can see every person in that area, their necks crane around the corners. They want to see what’s going to happen.

David Brower:              Exactly.

Bob Thibodeau:            He goes down under the water, and you can just picture this. He goes down underneath the water and then washes that mud off his face, and by faith, he’s opening his eyes. As he comes up out of the water, the first thing he sees is that big, blue, beautiful sky, and the temple, all the great ornate decorations of the temple. Remember, he’s never seen any of this before.

David Brower:              Right, right.

Bob Thibodeau:            He lets out a scream that could be heard all the way across town. The people in the pool area, they’re going wild. Now, what happens next is there’s such a commotion, the temple guards come down to quell the disturbance. “What’s going on down here?” “This guy was blind. He can see!” This guy, he’s just going nuts right now and hugging people and everybody’s hugging him.

The Jewish law says if there is a miracle that’s taken place, they must be brought before the priest for them to verify the miracle. That’s how he ends up in front of the temple priests. They’re like, “What happened?” He goes, “This guy named Jesus put mud on my face and told me to go across town. I did it, and now I can see.”

They’re like, “Wait a minute, the same Jesus that we’ve been hearing about?” They start ridiculing him and trying to corner him, call his parents. “You say he was born blind. How can he see?” Well, they don’t want to get kicked out of the temple and excommunicated, so they say, “Hey, he’s old enough. Ask him. He can tell you what happened.”

They ask him, and he gives the same thing. They ask him again. He says, “Why do you keep asking this question? Do you want to be his disciple, too?” Oh, that did it. Boom, you’re out, excommunicated, kicked out of the temple. The guy had never been in a temple before, and his first day that he can see, he gets kicked out. That’s basically ostracized from Jewish society.

Now he’s wandering around, doesn’t know what to do. Jesus hears about it, finds him. Remember, he didn’t see Jesus. Jesus sees him, he walks up to him, and he’s probably looking at him, saying, “What do you want?” As soon as Jesus started talking to him, he recognized the voice. [inaudible 00:09:54] Lord, and he said, “Just go on and tell everybody the testimony and it will be all right.” That’s toward the end of the book.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            Same story as looking at that story from the perspective of the blind guy instead of from the perspective of the disciples or Jesus or anybody else, looking at his perspective, what he went through.

David Brower:              I think what’s fascinating about that, I mean there’s lots of things fascinating about that story, but one thing about the bible, it’s full of metaphors, which makes it a most interesting read because every time you read the same verse 10 times, you get 10 different perceptions.

What’s interesting about your story with this guy is there’s some people, a lot of people out there that have faith, have blind faith, don’t have any faith. What an interesting way to introduce that in such a miraculous way, if you will, to let people know what the possibilities are. You don’t have to be blind to see. That’s a line out of amazing grace. Just capture it. Just be open to going, “What’s that about?”

Bob Thibodeau:            Yes, that’s right, exactly right. I preach that sermon from that perspective, and that’s one of the most popular ones. I just felt led to put it in book form so it can be shared with anyone who wanted it.

David Brower:              Good for you. You’ve got stories either on paper or on your mind or wherever about other characters in the bible. Do you have other books coming out, as well?

Bob Thibodeau:            Oh, yes. I have one that I’m finishing up. I was hoping to have that by done by year’s end. It’ll probably be February before it’s done. It’s called The Semikhah of Jesus, and that is a long story. I know it’s only 20 minutes. It would take me that long just to introduce the story.

David Brower:              I know, right?

Bob Thibodeau:            In a nutshell, I’ll use one scripture.

David Brower:              Okay.

Bob Thibodeau:            When Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you.” Remember that verse?

David Brower:              Sure, sure.

Bob Thibodeau:            Everybody thinks about the yoke on a collar with the bowls or whatever, but in actuality, the yoke, now, Jesus was called a rabbi. Everyone went, “Rabbi, rabbi,” right? Teacher. Why did they recognize him as a rabbi? This book is looking at what the traditional Jewish boy would be growing up to be. Today, we say baseball players, NFL players, whatever. Back then, the Jewish boy wanted to be a rabbi. Out of a thousand, they’d only pick about 10.

David Brower:              Fascinating.

Bob Thibodeau:            There’s testing, like the Kindergarten test to get into school. By five or six years old, the kid had to memorize the Book of Leviticus.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            Okay. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d just fail Kindergarten.

David Brower:              Yes, big time. I can’t even spell Leviticus, let alone read it all the way through.

Bob Thibodeau:            To graduate elementary school at age 12 and then become a student of a rabbi, they had to have the first five books of the Torah, well, the Torah memorized, the first five books of the bible, and be able to carry on a conversation with it, answer questions about it, keep the conversation centered around the word. You don’t hear anything about Jesus’ upbringing until age 12, and where do we find him at? In the temple. In the temple.

David Brower:              Yes, and he didn’t get there by accident. He wasn’t a blind guy with mud in his eyes. He did the work. He had to do the work.

Bob Thibodeau:            Yes, and what I think happened, and this is in the book as my writer’s liberties with the storytelling.

David Brower:              Right, right, right, yes.

Bob Thibodeau:            The wise men that brought the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, in today’s values of like $3 million, so Jesus’ parents went from being laborers to millionaires with these guys that brought them what God provided for the upbringing of Jesus, probably the private tutors and taking care of the family and all that, so he had the best instructors around. We don’t hear anything else about him.

David Brower:              Right, the best money could buy, as they say, right?

Bob Thibodeau:            We don’t hear anything else after he’s in the temple complex answering questions, and they were all amazed at his ability. That was just verifying that he was qualified to go on to a be rabbi trainee. Now, baptism is not something John the Baptist invented. That was throughout Israel every time there was a life change. You’d get engaged, get married, all that, they would baptize you. Well, rabbis at graduation time had to be baptized in order to be classified as a rabbi. Where did Jesus end up? Getting baptized.

David Brower:              By John the Baptist.

Bob Thibodeau:            Exactly. The rabbis, if we look at college today, if you’re studying to be an accountant, you don’t go down to the hospital one day and say, “You know what? I think I want to try my hand at open heart surgery. Let me in, somebody.”

David Brower:              Right.

Bob Thibodeau:            If you were trained as an accountant, that’s all you can do is accounting. Well, it was the same thing with different things, with rabbis. There was rabbis that specialized in doing the offerings, and there were rabbis that specialized in doing counseling, and there were rabbis specialized in doing teaching, rabbis who specialized in accounting and all that other stuff. You could only teach what your rabbi taught you, period.

David Brower:              Oh wow, that’s interesting.

Bob Thibodeau:            That teaching is called their yoke.

David Brower:              Okay.

Bob Thibodeau:            All right? Jesus’ teacher-

David Brower:              Yet another metaphor.

Bob Thibodeau:            Exactly. About once every 100 years or so, there was a special rabbi that would come around that had such an understanding of the biblical concepts, and he understood it all and he could give great analogies. He just had such a great understanding that he was recognized at his rabbi graduation as having what is called Semikhah.

David Brower:              I was going to ask you what that word was, yes.

Bob Thibodeau:            Semikhah is permission or authority to teach your own line of teaching. You create it yourself and you have permission to teach your followers that line of teaching. Now, in order to receive Semikhah, there had to be two witnesses to give verbal testimony to this fact at your baptism. If we see Jesus coming down to be baptized by John the Baptist, what does John the Baptist say? “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Witness number one.

Jesus goes down. Remember, Jesus, “John, I’m going to baptized by you.” Jesus said, “No, we have to do this to fulfill biblical things.” Down he goes. He comes up out of the water. He’s still only got one witness. What happens? God himself verbally gives confirmation.

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            Right? “Behold my son, in whom I’m well pleased.” Witness number two. He now has Semikhah. What does all the crowds following Jesus mean? They heard somebody has Semikhah. Remember, it’s only once every hundred years. What do they say? He doesn’t teach like the other rabbis teach. He teaches as one having authority. That word authority is translated Semikhah, right?

David Brower:              Wow.

Bob Thibodeau:            Jesus told his disciplines, he goes, “Take my yoke upon you. Take my teaching.” What’s Jesus’ teaching? Everywhere he went, the love of God.

David Brower:              Right, right.

Bob Thibodeau:            As a disciple of Jesus, that’s the only thing we can teach is the love of God, because we can only teach what our rabbis teach.

David Brower:              Man, that is like over the top good stuff, I got to tell you. I would think, and I don’t know this for sure whether this is in your plan or not, but I would think each one of your books would just be an amazing bible study.

Bob Thibodeau:            That’s what they’re designed to do. Hopefully they’ll be used in that fashion. That’d be a dream of mine.

David Brower:              Wouldn’t that be cool?

Bob Thibodeau:            Yes, absolutely.

David Brower:              Yes, I hear you. Well, we’re about out of time, so I want to give folks your contact information so they can learn more about you and your book and your podcast. You have a Kingdom Crossroads podcast, right?

Bob Thibodeau:            That is correct, yes,

David Brower:              Okay, and your website is

Bob Thibodeau:            That’s for the radio station. We have an online Christian radio station that plays 24 hours a day. We now have 50 different broadcasters on the contract, and it’s free. It’s offering based. Some people, they can’t send anything. That’s all right. We still put them on, but we make it affordable. That’s My personal website is FTFM, for Freedom Through Faith Ministries, dot org.

David Brower:              Dot org, so

Bob Thibodeau:            Correct, yes.

David Brower:              Okay, cool. Bob Thibodeau, fascinating. That was like lightning fast 20 minutes, man. We could’ve went on for a while.

Bob Thibodeau:            Amen.

David Brower:              First of all, thank you for your service. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for your writing ability to share the gospel, and I wish you a merry Christmas.

Bob Thibodeau:            Oh, you too, brother. I appreciate you having me on. I enjoyed it.

David Brower:              All right, likewise. Take care, Bob.

Bob Thibodeau:            Take care. Bye.

Allan:                            Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeartRadio, the Spotify mobile app, and at Until next time, thanks for listening.