Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

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 do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.

17 Finally 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."

18 The Jews 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 Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

It is sad to me that not much has changed to this very day. "Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ is put out of the synagogue." I speak with many Jewish people who have this same fear. They think that to acknowledge Christ, they will lose their Jewishness. First, I say, if you have to lose your Jewishness to gain salvation, there isn't really much of a choice. But, more importantly, it is not true. Jesus did not lose his Jewishness. Paul did not lose his Jewishness. Matthew, Mark, John and any other Jew that followed Jesus and wrote the New Testament did not lose their Jewishness. Christ came "first for the Jews, second for the gentiles". It is the gentile that has to be grafted to the vine.

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," 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 man 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.

The conversation was touching a little close to home for the religious leaders. As self-described 'disciples of Moses', they were intimately familiar with the Law of Moses. When the man insinuated that they were sinners, they lashed out at him. Confronting people with their own reflection in the mirror of the Law, they tend to move from the general to the specific and personal and when confronted with the truth of the Gospel, there are only two responses. Do you choose the response of the Pharisees? Or, the response of the man whose sight has been restored? It is not coincidence that God chose the metaphor of 'restored sight' to be the correct answer. Are you seeing clearly? Or, has your sin clouded your vision?

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