Friday, January 23, 2015

Boldly Proclaiming the Obvious (John 9:18-34)

“The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.””

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.” (John 9:18–34, ESV)

This is a longer passage. After debating about breaking it to look at it in smaller pieces it become clear that I really could not do so. In the first half we find the man’s parents at a loss for answering how he was healed. They told the Pharisees the basic fact that their son was born blind but that he could now see. But how this happened they did not know. Being intimidated and even fearful of the Jews, they threw the responsibility to explain back on to their own son and they sent the Jews back to him to inquire further. For fear, they wiped their hands of any responsibility and left their son to fend for himself, after all, he was old enough to do so. He was a grown man.

So, the Jews did exactly that. They brought the man back in and began the inquisition again. They led off with an interesting demand and a way of fulfilling the demand. They demanded that he give glory to God and the way they gave him to do this was by declaring Jesus a sinner. The man did not do what they demanded. Rather, he responded by saying that he knew nothing about Jesus’ state as a sinner. He had already said that he did not even know Him, so how could he say now that He was a sinner. The only way he could do this was by giving in to their demands and saying something he did not know to be true. In fact, he actually believed it to be untrue. He went on to tell the Jews after some more interaction that the work that Jesus did was proof enough for him that he was not a sinner. He said that no one had ever heard of anyone opening the eyes of a man born blind. In order for this to happen it had to be because God worked through Him, and God certainly would not listen to sinners. Jesus, by the fact that He did such an amazing thing, proved Himself to be from God. If He were not from God He simply could not have done it.

The simple truth for this man is that Jesus gave Him his sight. No man could do this on his own, nor has any man ever been reported to do so. In order for Him to do this He must have been heard by God, and God does not hear sinners. Therefore, for God to do this for Him, Jesus must not be a sinner. He was not a theologian and did not have to understand all of the reasoning of the Jews. What He knew was the simple truth that the man (Jesus) was enabled by God to give Him back His sight, and for this man it meant that Jesus was a man of God.

Of course, the Jews were incensed at this, and they turned on the man. They tried to belittle him as an unlearned man trying to instruct the learned, and then they threw him out. They had no answer, so they threw the problem aside. What an amazing thing. When they did not like what they heard and they did not like where the logical progression took them, they ignored it as if it did not exist. Man is no different today. There are so many situations in our world that the facts seem to point one, but because it does not fit preferred views it is put down, ridiculed, and attempts are made to toss it aside. This is what those pushing for extreme views in life are attempting to do with Christians and their biblical values today. If they don’t like it they ridicule it and try to remove it from their presence or to invalidate its voice in some way. But the simple truth remains that God is; He has revealed Himself, and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Rather than being intimidated as the man’s parents were, we can take great encouragement from the man who stood on the simple truths He knew and was not ashamed to speak about them.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the horrible decision of the Supreme Court which opened the floodgates of legalized abortion. As I was driving home I had the opportunity to listen on the radio to a group of young people and others speaking out about this great wrong on the steps of the very Court who turned this tragic corner in our history. As they spoke I heard their chants that they are the pro-life generation. They were not intimidated by the opposition, and they chose to stand in front of all and make this known.

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