Friday, August 13, 2010
“…One thing I know; that though I was blind, now I see”
I taught on John 9 my last week at Horn Creek and was once again struck by Jesus' healing of the man born blind. It's truly an amazing and revealing interchange between Jesus, the man born blind, the crowds, the man's family, and the Pharisees:
One of my favorite parts of the story is the interchange between the man who Jesus grants sight and the Pharisees. The Pharisees couldn't wrap their heads around what had just happened. Everyone in town knew the man was born blind. There was no doubt he was miraculously granted sight. It's possible he had no eyeballs or severely deformed ones and he could now see. The people who saw him after the miracle did a double take asking-is this the same guy? They clearly concluded he was the same guy. No question. The Pharisees hated that he was giving credit to Jesus for the miracle. They tried to discredit the miracle by saying Jesus did it on the Sabbath. That angle was squelched by some in their own ranks due to the sheer magnitude of what had been done. So the formerly blind man is telling everyone he knows that Jesus just gave him sight causing a huge stir and varied reactions.
The Pharisees are learned, educated, well-credentialed, and probably wealthy. The man born blind was a beggar, essentially disowned by his family, who the Pharisees thought was paying for his sins or the sins of his parents by being blind. I wonder what awful things the Pharisees murmured when they walked by the blind beggar for years?
Then Jesus gives the man sight. With heightened hearing from years of blindness, imagine what the world now looked like to the man as he heard all the sounds he had always known but now could look and see what made them! You know what must have overwhelmed him? For years he listened to voices speak viciously about him. He no doubt listened to hundreds of conversations about himself with no way to respond or make eye contact. He had to know he was an uneducated, begging, freak show and example of what sin does to the Pharisees. Now, in an instant, he can see the faces to whom the deriding voices belonged. They could not hide their judgmental sneers any longer being now revealed to the man they disparaged for so many years.
The best part of the interchange in John 9 happens here:
John 9:24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
The guy cuts through all the Pharisees' ridiculous bickering about who healed the man and how it was done to say- I was blind, now I see!! The rest of the interchange between the formerly blind, uneducated, simpleton and the highly educated and decorated Pharisees is priceless-
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.29 “We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!" 31 “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.32 “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.33 “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.
Wow! The guy was schooling them so they picked up their jacks and went home! The formerly blind man revealed their folly before all onlookers applying simple logic. What a story! Of course, it's not complete without seeing what happens last to the man as he meets Jesus once again-
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.