Monday, April 2, 2012

John 9:13-25

In today’s passage it is clear that, even though the Pharisees were “investigating” the healing, they were not really interested in finding the truth.

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided. (John 9:13-16)

Keeping the Sabbath was a big deal to the Pharisees! It was more important that it be strictly kept according to the myriad of laws and rituals than that a blind man be given sight. But they were divided at first here: some thought that a godly man would never break the Sabbath to heal; others were perplexed, for surely a sinner could not perform such a miracle.

Early in Jesus’ ministry Jesus faced criticism for breaking the Sabbath. His answer is instructive for us when we tend to become legalistic in our worship:

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

The Sabbath is a gift from God to us for our benefit - to give us rest from our labor. Should we be setting aside one day to honor and worship God? Surely we need to fellowship with other believers and come together in worship, and this can only be done if we dedicate a day to do it. We know that the early church met together on the first day of the week, so Christians have traditionally kept this day. However, if we become legalistic and judgmental about keeping the Sabbath or about which day to keep it, or if it becomes a ritualistic chore, we are missing the point and the benefit! By healing this man miraculously on the Sabbath, Jesus surely brought glory and honor to His Father.

While the Pharisees were divided about who Jesus was, the man born blind was not. When asked for his opinion about the man who healed him, he answered them confidently, “He is a prophet.” (vs.17) This gets the Pharisees looking for a way to discredit the man and the miracle, so they call in his parents for an interrogation:

“Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” (vs.19-23)

I find it interesting that his parents were hesitant to give glory to God out of fear of man. That’s how much power the religious leaders had over the common folk! They were afraid to acknowledge what was clearly true for fear of being put out of the synagogue. I wonder in how many ways we do this without even realizing we are denying Christ? When we attribute our blessings to “karma” or “luck” or even to our own “hard work?” When we hesitate to mention the name of Christ so no one is offended?
Because they found no satisfaction in interviewing the parents, the Pharisees called the man in once more and made one final demand of him:

“Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (vs. 24-25)

I love this testimony! This guy was not sure of the theology, but he did know one thing for sure: he had been drastically changed by his encounter with Jesus! I’m sure there are many of us who could say “Amen!” to this testimony, for it is our own! Tomorrow we’ll see the reaction of the Pharisees to his declaration.


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