Greetings everyone! Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of EDiBS, and God’s rich grace and mercy to you today in our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m happy to be with you today as we continue on in our week of Bible study, and I’m also mindful of the great privilege that it is to come together like this with you each day, so thank you very much! As we move into today’s session, we’ll be continuing in John 9 with the man who once was blind, but now can see. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank you for another day to be called your children; another day to know the joy of forgiveness, the joy of belonging to your family; another day filled with new hope and the assurance of your presence and your guiding hand. Draw near to us as we study your Word today and teach us all that you desire for us to know. This we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
As we get started today, now that the blind man has been healed and has caused a stir, it’s time, as usual, for the Pharisees to get into the mix. Our focus: division in the ranks.
13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore 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." 16Some 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. 17Finally 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."
It’s not so much this way anymore, but it used to be the norm. What am I talking about? In the old days, especially in small communities where there were few educated people, if something extraordinary or frightening or inexplicable happened in town that folks didn’t understand, they’d usually seek out one of two people for help: the doctor or the minister. It’s not that either one of them was any smarter than anybody else; it’s just that those two usually had the greatest amount of education and the broadest experience in dealing with the outside world. I have a friend in one of the western states who serves as a pastor, but to the little town where he resides he is much more than the community preacher…he is the all-around dispenser of wisdom on everything from the family to the family business to how the community should determine what it does and doesn’t do. He is honest and humble, he gives good counsel, and he is respected for it. Because of that, he’s been the go-to guy there for almost 24 years now.
Verse 13: In today’s reading, what we see happening is something very natural – and it is similar in scope to what I’ve just described to you. The folks who have seen our formerly blind man up and walking around with perfect vision are perplexed by this turn of events. They don’t know what to make of it in the least, and truth be told, it’s maybe even a little bit on the frightening side. Here’s a man they know has never, to this point, seen anything in his life – but now he is cured, and he is attributing the whole thing to that itinerant preacher and general trouble maker known in the community as Jesus. So what do these people do as they process through this jumble of information? Verse 13 tells us that they take him and go to the people in town whom they know to be most trustworthy – the Pharisees. I don’t think we should see this as anything other than what it is...in other words, I don’t see the people wanting to condemn this man or wanting to back him in a corner. More than anything, they just want to get their heads around what has happened, and if anyone can help them to do that it’s going to be their trusted religious leaders.
Verses 14-15: But right away as we come into verse 14, we run into problems, don’t we. It turns out that this healing was another one of those Sabbath deals that Jesus is so famous for pulling. Everybody knows it’s not lawful to do any kind of work on the Sabbath, including healing anyone for goodness’ sake, and so there is an immediate disconnect for the Pharisees. Notice that once they realize this man was made well on the Sabbath, they straight-away dismiss the idea that it could have been wrought of God, because in their thinking and by the way that they interpret Mosaic Law, God would never do something so clearly against His own commandments. That’s why in verse 15 the Pharisees ask the man to detail how it is that he was healed.
Verse 16: What we see, however, is that the man’s explanation does them no good; instead, it serves to divide them. Verse 16 shows us their conundrum. On the one hand, they say that Jesus couldn’t be from God because He doesn’t keep the Sabbath...but on the other hand, if Jesus is a law-breaking sinner, how did He manage to do what He did? There is clearly no way to reconcile the two views, and the Pharisees are in a pickle. The sages of the community, however, are not supposed to be put into pickles, and they are fast on their way to feeling very put out by this bit of embarrassment.
Verse 17: When we get to verse 17, it’s so easy for us to picture the scene: now turning to the man who has been healed - the only one, by the way, for whom everything in all of this has seemed simple and straightforward - they ask him the $64,000 question. It’s not a fair question, not in the least. It’s not a question that has any kind of an acceptable answer. It’s a “does this dress make me look fat?” question. And thus it is a question that sets in motion an unstoppable chain of events that will ultimately lead our formerly blind man to a place he never could have imagined.
As we wrap things up for the day, we have seen once again a simple witness; the witness of a man telling those around him what Jesus has done. That witness having gone out, it will now do its work, and once more the stage is set for a compelling look at how people respond to the love of God in Jesus Christ. To those who receive Him He gives the power to become children of God – but to those whose hearts are hardened against Him, no amount of talk, no amount of proof, no amount of anything at all will sway them to believe and live. The truth is that the evidence for Jesus being exactly who He claims to be is only mounting at this point in the drama. The fact is now well-established for anyone to see if they are willing. Do you see today? I pray that you do – and that God through His Word is opening your spiritual eyes more and more each day as we look at the life and ministry of our Lord.
Have a great day, and I’ll look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow. Until then, take care!