Good Morning! Happy President’s Day!
John 9:25 – 34
25He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27He 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?’ 28Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” Infuriated, and seeking a flaw in the story, the Pharisees again question him, how did this come about? And he answered that he already told them and they did not listen. He asks why they want to hear it again – could it be because they also wish to be his disciples? You have got to love the brashness of this man! He antagonizes those in authority with his simple, direct questions and comments! This last comment, however, carries more than a challenge to the questioners; it implies that he would be a disciple of this man.
Another note about the man’s words – do they sound familiar? “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Yes, “I was blind but now I see” in Amazing Grace was quoted from this passage.
The Pharisees now say they know God spoke to Moses but they do not know where this man came from. Again, the formerly blind man replies boldly – read it as translated by Eugene Peterson in “The Message”: “30 The man replied, "This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! 31 It’s well known that God isn’t at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. 32 That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of – ever. 33 If this man didn’t come from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything." If God was not with Jesus, how then could he do these things?
Having lost the argument, the Pharisees do what they can do – they raise their voices and attack the person who had logical answers. (Do you know people who do that? Do all of us sometimes do that?) They call on their belief that a disability is caused by sin, and they accuse the man, because he was born blind, of having been born steeped in sin. This man’s parents had been afraid to respond to the religious leaders, lest they be thrown out of the synagogue. Now they make good on that threat and throw this man out, not just from their presence, but likely also from the synagogue as well – sort of like a shunning.
The religious leaders in this story are determined to believe what they want to believe – they are seeking only the evidence that supports their beliefs. But God is doing something new in the world, through Christ, and the miracles he does are signs that are intended to draw their attention and help them to see God’s actions in him. And yet, they refuse to see anything new. Do we do that? Do we defend and protect old ways of thinking when God is working in new ways in front of us? We must be aware of God’s work in our midst, always!