Letters to the Prison - Week 100

Hello, everyone.  It’s sad to see that we’ve gone nearly two years without being able to see you and worship with you in person.  Pray, dear friends, that God would open the door so that we might glorify Him together as we are called to do (Hebrews 10:24-25).  We miss you!
Last week, the man born blind unleashed an irrefutable, undeniable theological truth about Jesus on the Jewish leaders (John 9:30-33).  The short version is this:  No one had ever restored the sight of a man born blind until Jesus did… and he did it publicly in front of numerous witnesses.  The only way Jesus could have done that is by the power and authority of God.  Therefore, Jesus’ claims about himself must be true.  This isn’t the first time Jesus has done such a work… and it won’t be the last.  The man born blind’s testimony about Jesus is bold and undeniable.
So, how do the Jewish leaders respond?
•They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.-John 9:34
They couldn’t deny what Jesus did… nor could they deny what that meant about Jesus.  So, they attacked and rejected the man born blind, instead.  They presumed (like many others had –including Jesus’ own disciples) that the man was born blind because of someone’s sin (John 9:1-2).  This presumed moral status supposedly disqualified the man from being able to “teach” such “upright citizens” as the Jewish leaders.  In short, the Jewish leaders were saying, “you’re way worse than us!  How dare you try to teach us anything!”  
Do we do that today?  Do we judge people based on their behavior or status and then determine whether that person is worth listening to or taking advice from?  Indeed.  Reputation, wealth, and status all play a role in whether we’re likely to even listen to someone let alone agree with what they have to say… and to actually do what a person says?  That requires a whole different level of trust and respect, doesn’t it?  And we determine these things based on our own standards of morality, decency, and social status…  if they don’t live up to our standards, why listen to them?
The Jewish leaders thought they had a monopoly on righteousness and wisdom.  So, when the man born blind challenged their assumptions, they “cast him out” of the synagogue.  They publicly cut him off from the support of his local community.  Ironically, this probably didn’t matter as much to him as it might have to someone else.  We read earlier in the chapter how, being blind, he was forced to beg anyway.  So, being rejected and shunned probably wasn’t very new to this man.  Still, none of this has any significance compared to what happens next:
•Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. -John 9:35-38
This is a profound conversation that the man born blind has with our Lord and Savior.  And it prepares the way for something even more amazing that Jesus says about himself.  We’ll look at it more closely next week.  Until then, consider these verses and what exactly is happening here.  We love you!

Dean A.

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