Who’s a sinner? Who’s Blind?

Here’s an interesting theme I see running through ALL of John 9 where Jesus heals a man born blind. Throughout the chapter, a contrast is drawn between the followers of dead religion and the children of the Father.

Here’s the stuff the disciples and the Pharisees say:
“Who sinned so that this man was born blind? Him or his parents?”
“Give glory to God! We know [Jesus] is a sinner.”
“You were steeped in sin at birth! How dare you lecture us!”

Here’s what Jesus and the blind man said”
“This happened so the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.”
“Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”

born blind

See a difference? The disciples (who still didn’t get it) and the Pharisees were just interested in finding out who sinned and who is to blame. Jesus and the blind man understood that despite who may be guilty of what, the important thing right now is the work of the Father. What then is the father’s business? Reversal and redemption. As Jesus said to the blind man: “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

How interesting that the one person in the story qualified to judge people rejects the “who sinned?” question and defers judgment on everybody except for those who falsely claim the right to judge. He seems to say to the blind man, “Don’t worry about the Pharisees with their clever theological theories and brow-beating accusations. You know that you’ve seen the Father at work. And truthfully, you’ve discerned more than them. That’s why I’m here. To make simple folks “get” the truth of God and the clever religious folks be totally confused.

Seems to me Jesus is still in the business of doing that. That’s why I try not to be overly enamored of “professional Christians” like I think one big disservice we do ourselves and our Father is to think that certain types of folks understand spiritual truths more clearly because “he’s the pastor” or “she’s been a Christian a really long time” or “they’re missionaries in Africa.” We give people credibility based on their resume rather than the evidence of the Father’s work in and through their lives. Jesus never said, “Hey, I’m a Rabbi! I’ve been to seminary. I work for a ministry. You should believe in me.” He let the Father’s work give him credibility and authority:myself. As often as not, we lose the forest for the trees and it takes a begging blind man to knock us off our feet.

“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”


First posted – by Nathan Harkness at It Happened to a Hark

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