Thursday, May 15, 2014
John 9 . . . but now I see, Part III
Today we'll continue our study of this chapter, and we will see five different vignettes; there are five conversations that we'll learn from. Hang in there, it may be a lengthy post!
Step by step we will see that the blind man's view of Jesus is going to become clearer and clearer, and he will grab hold of courage to defend Him. We should be inspired to do the same!
The first vignette, or conversation, is between the blind man and his neighbors. Look at verses 8-12, won't you?
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
OK, so his neighbors are arguing amongst themselves, and then with the man himself. First they are bickering about whether or not he really is the same man who they knew, who'd been a blind beggar. He insists that he IS the one who had been blind. Nothing daunted, they demanded how his eye were opened, and he tells them his story. He simply calls Jesus the "man." He knows his name, but for some reason he only calls him "the man."
In the second conversation, the blind man is being questioned by the Pharisees. Let's check out verses 13-17:
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 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.”
16 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 perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
What we see here is something akin to an investigation. They ask him how in the world he can be seeing things if he had been born blind. They probably stared into his eyes, and made him tell them how many fingers they were holding up. Probably asked what color were the tassels on Rabbi Gamaliel's robe, too.
Did they miss the point, or what?
Then when he tells his story, they are divided, according to John. This gives me a little hope here. Maybe there were some who saw the miracle, and not just the breaking of the Law? We'll see.
Notice the last thing the blind man says to them; it's important. He calls Him a prophet. So he is evolving in his perception of Jesus......now he says He is a prophet. And prophets are sent by God.
The third conversation that John records here is between the Pharisees and the man's parents. Here are verses 18-23:
They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 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.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
The parents are probably scared to pieces. John notes that they are in fear of their questioners. This really points out the growing courage of their son; he is becoming more fearless in his answers!
The fourth conversation is between the Pharisees and the beggar (again). We're going to be amazed at the courage of a mere beggar, standing up to the most educated, the most religious, the most powerful Jewish people of the land . . .
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 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!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
I don't know about you, but when I finish reading this, I'm practically on my feet cheering for this guy!
He has undergone an amazing transformation, right before our eyes! And we are also given a front row seat to see the blasphemy of the Pharisees.
They tell him to join in their blasphemy; to say that Jesus is a sinner. "Who's going to make me?" was probably the beggar's response, because they tell him that if he doesn't agree with them, they will excommunicate him from the synagogue. Amazingly, he responds to their threat with his most famous statement. "One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." This is a ringing, triumphant personal testimony, and it's powerful in its rebuttal of a very bad argument.
The truth of Jesus is going deeper into this man's heart. His courage becomes scorn -- "You wanna hear my story again? You going to become His disciples?"
No wonder they become hostile.
The truth hurts, as they say.
Because as Jesus said in John 5:46, "If you believed in Moses you would believe me, for he wrote of me." We are really seeing that they are not only blind, but that they are not even disciples of Moses!
They can't handle what has happened to this man; they can't handle what he is telling them. They cast him out; they want nothing further to do with him. His courage is causing him to assume the role of teacher, and their blindness (and the stiffening of their necks!) is becoming more and more hardened.
We'll see next time the final conversation in this chapter.