off the path

I haven’t posted for a while, mainly because I’ve been too busy. I’ve also taken to reading just before I go to sleep, which means I’m not near a computer.

I’m currently somewhere in Joshua, but this post is actually going to center around a passage in John. The sermon at church this Sunday evening was based on John chapter 9, and something struck me when the passage was read, that was quite different than the sermon, so I figured I’d mention it here.

It’s important to read through the entire chapter. The short version of the story is this (completely paraphrased):

  1. Jesus comes across a beggar who is blind (from birth)
  2. The disciples ask Him what sin caused the man’s blindness.
  3. Jesus answers that there was no sin in this case, the man was blind so that God could be revealed in his healing.
  4. Jesus heals him.
  5. He rejoices, people marvel, the people take him to the Pharisees (most likely to judge the validity of the miracle).
  6. The Pharisees question whether someone from God would heal on the sabbath; they question the man’s identity and history; they attempt to get him to say that Jesus is a sinner; and they interrogate the man hoping to get him to recant his story.
  7. After enduring their questions a couple of times, the man preaches to them — pointing out that he is the one who was blind, but they are the ones acting like blind men. He further points out that their own teachings insist that He could not have performed this miracle without the blessing of God.
  8. Not being able to argue with him, they pull the “born in sins” card (they believed that being born blind was a punishment for some sin he or his parents committed) and kicked him out for daring to try to teach them (even though they had been asking for his opinion at first, when they couldn’t agree with each other).
  9. Jesus finds the man after hearing that he was driven out.
  10. Jesus reveals himself as God to the man (in front of some of the pharisees).
  11. The man believes (note: he did not believe in Jesus as Lord until this point, he was healed before believing).
  12. Jesus uses the situation as a starting-off place for some prophecy and teaching…

And here is where the lessons start.

The beggar who had been blind believed as soon as the truth was revealed to him. The pharisees, having seen miracle after miracle, and having just come face to face with a verified miracle, chose to remain blind to the truth. In Jesus words, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” (John 9:39, KJV).

The pharisees got the point, and responded sarcastically, basically saying “surely you’re not calling us blind?” (paraphrase). Jesus responded, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Recognize that they believed someone who was blind was obviously in sin, so this response would have no doubt seemed absurd to them. At the same time, in the context it would have made perfect sense. They would have had to have known, deep down, that they were just searching for some way to discount Him so that they wouldn’t have to change their world view. They knew that they were confused (or they never would have asked a beggar’s opinion earlier), so they knew that saying they could see (in the figurative sense) was a lie, and Jesus called them on it.

From here it moves in to chapter 10, which is not a separate story but a continuation of the lessons that are started in chapter 9. John 10 might just be my new favorite passage, and I have too much to think about to cover it here without writing another book, so I think I’ll probably write about it in my next post.

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