I was blind but now I see
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
John 9:13They 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.”
18The 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. 21But 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.” 22His 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[a] would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,[b]” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27He 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?”
28Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
I noticed something when I read these verses that I had not seen before. When the parents of the blind man were questioned, because they feared being ostracized by the leaders of the church, they said, “Why ask us? Our son is of age, ask him.” Talk about throwing your own son underneath the bus…
We in America may not always understand the implications of some of the biblical accounts. Indeed, much of the Middle East is still under the same type of system where the religious leaders wield political power as well. Because of the separation of church and state, we have political leaders who can become quite powerful, and we have religious leaders who, likewise, can become quite powerful. However, they are never one and the same.
In Israel it was not uncommon for the religious leaders to carry political clout as well. Because the Pharisees were intent on proving that Jesus was a false prophet, or at the least a sinner, they would use any person, and any situation, to bring about their end.
The argument that Jesus could not be a man of God because He broke Moses’ law and healed on the Sabbath is the same as in Matthew 23:24 when Jesus accuses those who are steeped in the law of straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. Or, a modern day idiom is “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
It is incongruous that the Pharisees were more concerned with an infraction of a law than rejoicing over the restored sight of a man blind from birth, but that is what legalism begets–those who are more concerned with the law than with the people for whom the law was written.
Jesus came not to do away with the law, but to complete the law. After all, the law was never intended to bring a man to salvation, it was meant to show mankind the need for a Savior. And now, Jesus, the Savior, is in their midst, performing miracles, and not only can they not see Him for who He is, but they accuse Him of being a sinner or demon-possessed.
We were all, at one time, blind and could not see, but Jesus shined the light of His truth upon our hearts, exposing the sin and leading us into a new understanding and a new relationship with God. I pray that if there is anyone reading this who is still under the law, that you would be set free, for whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
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- Tagged: Carol J. Grace, I was blind but now I see, Seeking Holiness