Letters to the Prison - Week 98

Hello, everyone.  We’re continuing our study of John 9.  Last week, we saw the parents of the man born blind cave to the prevailing social pressure to keep silent about Jesus.  That pressure is as real and powerful today as it was back then.  See for yourself.  Strike up a conversation about Jesus in public or with someone you’ve just met and see what happens.  You might be surprised.
Continuing our study, we see that the religious authorities aren’t done with the man born blind.  They summon him for a second interrogation.  Look what they say to him about Jesus:
•“Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.”   -John 9:24b
First, let’s be clear that “this man” refers to Jesus, not the man born blind.  The Jewish leaders are asking the man born blind to agree with them that Jesus is a sinner… and asserting that such an agreement would “give glory to God.”  To recognize everything going on in that statement, we must first unpack the bad assumptions the Jewish leaders are making as they say it.  Here’s a brief list of those assumptions:
Bad Assumption #1:  That Jesus is a sinner because he violated man-made laws.
Bad Assumption #2:  That those man-made laws are approved by God.
Bad Assumption #3:  That those man-made laws therefore glorify God.  Therefore:
Bad Assumption #4:  Agreeing with the men who made up the laws glorifies God.
We could list more, but you get the idea.  Notice also that they didn’t ask a question…  they gave a command and made a statement.  They presumed the “truth” of the statement… and that the “truth” naturally gave force to the command.  This wasn’t a question to be answered, it was a command to follow based on a “truth” they were already assuming… and they were assuming that the man born blind would naturally agree.  Who wouldn’t, right?  If you think about it long enough, it becomes clear that these men have functionally assumed the role of God… making up laws… declaring who is a sinner and who isn’t… and seeking to “glorify God…” when people agree with them… and punishing those who don’t, as we are about to see…
The man born blind is not engaging any of these assumptions as he answers the Jewish leaders.  As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, the sight Jesus granted him wasn’t just physical.  Jesus did a work in the man born blind… a transformative Spiritual work.  Look how he responds:
•“Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”-John 9:25
Here was a simple, irrefutable testimony.  The man made no assumptions about things he didn’t know.  He didn’t pretend to have all the answers.  He can’t speak to Jesus’ moral condition… but he can testify about what Jesus did for him --and what Jesus did for him was profound!  The man born blind didn’t fall in with the assumptions the Jewish leaders were making, so they started to cross-examine him about what really happened to his eyes (John 9:26).  By asking him to repeat his testimony, they were hoping to expose some inconsistency or contradiction in his self-report.  It’s a common interrogation tactic.  Worse, they were likely seeking to cause confusion in his testimony in order to forcefully discredit him.  But he doesn’t fall for that, either.  We’ll examine his answer and see how this conversation turns ugly next week.  We love you!

Dean A.

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