The book of John, chapter 9, tells of a man born blind from birth, whom Jesus heals; giving the man sight. Typically, I’ve focused on the healing process. Today, I’m focusing on the responses. The Disciples, like many leaders, including the Pharisees, and people of the time, believed an illness of any kind generated at birth was due to sin. They ask the question, “Rabbi (meaning teacher, a title often given to Jesus), who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind”? Jesus replies, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned.” Did you notice the Disciples are more interested in the “sin” then the healing?
The Pharisee’s were spiritual leaders who maintained the “purity” of God’s commands to his people. “The Pharisee’s perhaps meant to obey God, but eventually they became so devoted and extremist in very limited parts of The Law (plus all that they themselves added to it) they became blind to The Messiah when He was in their very midst. They saw His miracles, they heard His Words, but instead of receiving it with joy, they did all that they could to stop Him (eventually to the point of getting Him killed because He truthfully claimed to be the Son of God.)”* Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath, a Holy Day, instituted by God. Yet, the Pharisee’s had added a ton of man-made laws and restrictions to the Sabbath; such as no work should be done on the Sabbath; including helping or healing mankind in any way. In other words if you fell in a ditch and broke your leg you would stay in the ditch until the Sabbath day ended. Some Pharisee’s responded with the words, “This man (meaning Jesus) is not from God for he does not keep the Sabbath”. Others asked the question, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” The Pharisee’s found themselves divided. Similar to the Disciples, they missed the point. The Pharisees are more interested in their perspective of the “letter of the Law” and discrediting Jesus then the miraculous healing which took place.
The Pharisees hurl insults at the now healed man. They question him at length including questioning the parents of the man. They cannot comprehend how a man blind from birth can now see. They simply refuse to believe that Jesus is who he says he is and can do what he claims he can do. I love the blind man’s response to the constant questioning of the Pharisees. “The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this the Pharisees replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
This chapter really spoke to me in an unexpected way. I struggle with how to respond to questions about my faith, my belief in Jesus and the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. It would be easy for me to recite and pull Scripture, much as the Pharisees did, and point to this or that. It would be easy for me, like the Disciples, to hang on to what I’ve been taught; as the Disciples did in believing the man’s blindness was caused by sin. In both cases, the Pharisees and the Disciples focus were on the wrong thing. Each time the subject of the Supreme Court ruling comes up, I am reminded of the verse,“let him who is without sin cast the first stone” John 8:7. I will continue to seek the Lord and inquire of him in regards to my response. In the meantime, one thing I know for sure, God would have me respond in love… not finger-pointing condemnation or judgment. God’s Word teaches, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!”
We can never go wrong when we respond to others in love.
Until next time,
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
There’s a whole chapter dedicated to this healing and I only touched on a smidge. I hope you take time to read the story in its entirety.
For more info on the Sabbath please feel free to do a word search on this website, in the top right-hand section. I wrote a 4 part series on the subject.