You know how TV shows usually have a break mid season? It’s usually a cliff hanger and leaves you hating everyone involved with the show for doing that to you. Well…I apologize for being one of those people.
Back in October of last year we started talking about John chapter 9. God blew my mind and opened my eyes (pun intended) to some amazing things in that chapter and the story we’ve all heard a thousand times. In some quiet quarantine study time I’ve decided I want to start writing through a book of the Bible, but realized I really shouldn’t start something new until we finish digging through John chapter 9. You can read (or re-read) the first three episodes by looking back at the blog or scrolling to the end of this post where I will post links. At the very least I encourage you to go read verses 1-16 right quick. That’s where we left off. Let’s pick the story back up in 17.
This prompted them to turn on the man healed of blindness, putting him on the spot in front of them all, demanding an answer. They asked, ‘Who do you say he is — this man who opened your blind eyes?’ ‘He’s a prophet of God!’ the man replied. Still refusing to believe that the man had been healed and was truly blind from birth, the Jewish leaders called for the man’s parents to be brought to them.John 9:17-18 (TPT)
Ah the Pharisees. Aren’t they swell? Our dear friend who can finally see has been a bystander in his own miracle so far in the conversation. However, just as the Pharisees are about to convince everyone and themselves that Jesus is a sinner, this guy has to run in with basic logic and ruin everything! He wonders how an ordinary sinner could’ve done such a thing. And they turn on him.
Let’s look at some more verses right quick before we make a point.
So they asked his parents, ‘Is this your son?’ ‘Yes,’ they answered. ‘Was he really born blind?’ ‘Yes, he was,’ they replied. So they pressed his parents to answer, ‘Then how is it that he’s now seeing?’ ‘We have no idea,’ they answered. ‘We don’t know what happened to our son. Ask him, he’s a mature adult. He can speak for himself.’ (Now the parents were obviously intimidated by the Jewish religious leaders, for they had already announced to the people that if anyone publicly confessed Jesus as the Messiah, they would be excommunicated. That’s why they told them, ‘Ask him, he’s a mature adult. He can speak for himself.’)vs. 19-23
Our boy has been blind to a lot of things hasn’t he. Not only has he been literally blind to seeing the world around him, but this caused him to be ostracized and therefore blind to the bullying techniques of the religious elite. When faced with the question of who healed him, he was quick to answer truthfully. “Don’t know…but he was on God’s side!” That answer doesn’t work for the Pharisees so they call his parents out.
Can you imagine?!? You’ve been blind your WHOLE life, you can FINALLY see…and no one believes that you have experienced either blindness or miraculous sight. On top of all of that, you might’ve been quick to give all the glory to God, but your own family (who has not received miraculous sight) is so scared of the local church that they refuse to answer the question, putting you back in the hotseat! They’ve been seeing this whole time and they have watched as the church shunned people for superficial reasons. They aren’t prepared to experience that for themselves. But they are apparently prepared to abandon their son.
So once again they summoned the man who was healed of blindness and said to him, ‘Swear to God to tell us the truth! We know the man who healed you is a sinful man! Do you agree?’ The healed man replied, ‘I have no idea what kind of man he is. All I know is that I was blind and now I can see for the first time in my life!” ‘But what did he do to you?’ they asked. ‘How did he heal you?’ The man responded, ‘I told you once and you didn’t listen to me. Why do you make me repeat it? Are you wanting to be his followers too?’vs. 24-27
Woof. Do you see how quickly this is spinning out of control? The religious leaders ask the man to swear an oath by God’s name. How many times was that expressly forbidden in the Old Testament law (the law these men claimed to be experts in?) A lot. Let’s leave it there. But now to keep control of the situation they are breaking their own rules!
But our boy isn’t playing games anymore. You can hear him getting more and more exasperated. Keep in mind, he finally has sight and instead of going to SEE his friends or SEE his house he has to stand around and LISTEN to an argument about him. He has been listening his whole life!!!
I felt assured that scholars had an estimation of how old our guy was. So I went searching. I didn’t find what I expected. According to The Moody Bible Commentary, this man now standing up to the religious elite, being abandoned by his parents, born blind and now seeing…was probably 13-25.
His parents were scared of the church! All the locals were scared of the church! But this kid knew things they couldn’t know which gave him a boldness they couldn’t access. Boldness to wonder if the Pharisees wanted to follow Jesus. It didn’t sit well.
This angered the Jewish leaders. They heaped insults on him, ‘We can tell you are one of his followers — now we know it! We are true followers of Moses, for we know that God spoke to Moses directly. But as for this one, we don’t know where he’s coming from!’ ‘Well, what a surprise this is!’ the man said. ‘You don’t even know where he comes from, but he healed my eyes and now I can see! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but only to godly people who do his will. Yet who has ever heard of a man born blind that was healed and given back his eyesight? I tell you, if this man isn’t from God, he wouldn’t be able to help me like he has!’vs. 28-33
GET IT MAN!!! Our boy is laying an education down on the educated. And they aren’t gonna sit for it.
Some of the Jewish leaders were enraged and said, ‘Just who do you think you are to lecture us! You were born a blind, filthy sinner!’ So they threw the man out in the street.vs. 34
Wow. They kicked the guy out of church for attesting to what they already believed. Bad things happen to sinners and good things to the holy. The man who did the healing must not be bad and the guy who got healed must not be either. The Pharisees kicked him out of church because he preached their words back to them.
We’re finally going to get to see this amazing chapter come to a close tomorrow, but let’s leave with this thought on our hearts and in our minds: the man in this story was a walking, talking, seeing miracle. He had experienced the great touch and love of Jesus. He has now stood up to the religious crazies and been excommunicated. And he did it all without Jesus. This 13-25 year old met Jesus yes, but he stood trial between encounters. We learn from them that you need only experience Jesus the one time. You leave forever changed and never able to ignore the goodness of our God.