Letters to the Prison - Week 97

Hello, everyone!  We’re so grateful you’ve decided to join our study.  Last week, we saw how the Jewish leaders were perplexed by the miracle Jesus worked –he restored sight to the man born blind… on a Sabbath day.  They couldn’t deny that it happened and yet, because it happened on the Sabbath, it was in “violation” of the Sabbath laws.  The problem is that Jesus’ act violated their Sabbath laws… the ones they made…  not the laws established by God Himself.  Jesus, claiming to be God, also claims to be Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).  Jesus certainly would not (and did not) violate his own laws by healing the blind man on the Sabbath.  But rather than take correction or reconsider their position, the Jewish leaders instead want to discredit the man born blind.  So, they question his parents (John 9:18-23) to see if this truly is their son who was born blind.  Look how they respond:
•“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.”-John 9:20b-21
We learn a lot about the man born blind and his parents from what they say here.  Especially after we consider what John explains about the conversation:
•(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus[b] to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”-John 9:22-23
First, we learn that the man born blind is an adult.  He can “speak for himself.”  We might also wonder why a blind man whose parents are still alive is nevertheless forced to beg (John 9:8).  Did his parents reject him thinking that he was cursed because of his blindness?  Were they simply unable to support him?  We aren’t told.  We are told quite plainly, though, that this man’s parents weren’t willing to speak of Jesus if it meant risking their place in the synagogue.  They were victims of the crowd mentality and the social pressure to deny Jesus (John 7:13).  When it came time to confess the truth about Jesus to people in power, they caved… played ignorant.  Is this how we are as Christians?  When the time comes for us to publicly bear witness to the truth about Jesus, what will we do?  Jesus has some strong words about our choice:
•So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.-Matthew 10:32-33
We need to consider such things carefully.  We as Christians aren’t meant to keep silent about the truth of God’s word or Jesus’ work in our lives.  We are called to bear witness; not rudely, but plainly and honestly, boldly and clearly, to what Jesus has done in us and for us.  Further, we are to plead in earnest with the people in our lives to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).  We are about to see a living example of such a testimony as the man born blind is once again called before the authorities.  His parents, cowed into silence by the social pressure to deny Jesus, escaped the interrogation of the authorities without consequence.  We’ll see next week that the man born blind won’t get away so easily.  Until then, ask yourself:  How will you bear witness to Jesus to the people around you?  We love you!  Pray for us, dear friends, that we would be bold in our testimony about Jesus.

Dean A.

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