Apr 26, 2011

I once was blind...

I read the story of the blind man in John chapter 9 this evening. Once again I laughed out loud, sitting alone in my room. The humor is priceless, the characters are matchless, and the plot is timeless.

Consider, the blind man sitting on the street corner with his cardboard sign. The disciples saunter on past, and  - not so discretely, judging by Peter & John's personalities - ask Jesus, "So was it this guy's sin or his parent's that caused this." The point being (need I explain) that somehow this poor blind guy was so much more sinful than most that God saw fit to blind him from birth.

Jesus explains, patiently, I imagine, the real reason for his blindness.  I shan't reiterate, you'll have to read it yourself if you want to know why God allows sickness and pain in people's lives.

Anyway, then Jesus nonchalantly stoops down, spits in the dirt to make a little mud, and rubs it on the guy's eyes. Imagine with me, just for a split second, the disciples' faces.  A study in utter bewilderment.
Now imagine the blind man's feelings.  Random man stops by and rubs mud in his face. Awesome.
You know the story.  Man washes in the pool, comes back seeing. Average day in Cappernaum.

Everyone goes their merry ways. Until the word gets around.

The neighbors read on the front page of the local paper that a blind man was healed, and they rush down all lights and sirens to see for themselves.  They sit and jibber-jabber for a while about whether this is the guy or not the guy, etc..  Finally, they decide this is the man, ask for the whole story, and he tells them. "A Man called Jesus made clay, anointed my eyes with it, told me to wash in the pool of Siloam. I did, and now I can see." **Please notice this superb example of a testimony. Only what happened. Simple, clear, honest. No life tale, no sob story, no bunny trails.**

Unfortunately the neighbors were completely ignorant of great rhetoric.  They grab this poor man and drag him to the Pharisees. Now, the Pharisees were pretty stick-in-the-mud-ish about, well, basically anything Jesus did. They were top dog, he was the new kid on the block...plus He did everything they were supposed to do, did it better than them, and did it in ways they couldn't fathom. So they were a teensy bit jealous.
What happens when a man shows up claiming to have been healed by Jesus? Well, frankly it struck a nerve.
The Pharisees ask the man's story.  "He put clay in my eyes, I washed, now I can see."

Well, let me tell you, this sets off a whole bunch of hysterics.  Suddenly everyone's yelling at everyone.  The neighbors, the Pharisees, the random townsfolk.  Even Uncle Boaz' dog showed up to watch the fun. The Pharisees are spouting theology, ideology, and phraseology, the townsfolk are yelling about biology, criminology, and socialogy.  All the dog knows is zoology, so he adds his two denarii worth of that. Chaos ensues.
Suddenly someone has the bright idea to go get the guy's parent's to find out if this is a trick or not.
Mom and Dad arrive, and are placed in the witness box.
"Is this your son?"
"Actually, your Honor, he takes after his father."
"Was he born blind?"
"Explain how he can now see."
"I have no idea."
"Sir, you're under oath."
"He's an adult. He speaks. He's over 21. Ask him yourself."

Exit parents stage left. Reenter man stage right. Continue.

By now the man is a little exhausted with the ordeal. The Pharisees patiently explain to him that Jesus is a horrible man, and as such has no power to heal. Yeah, great argument to give to a guy who's just been healed.  Not the best tactic.
He explains that he is no scholar or theologian.  All he knows is that he WAS blind, but NOW he sees.
So, brilliantly, they ask him again how he was healed.

The man gets sullen.  "Now listen, here. I told you once and you wouldn't believe me..." Suddenly he gets a mischievous glint in his eye "...why do you keep asking?  Do YOU want to be His disciples too???" Cut to man being tossed out the synagogue door on his ear.

Ha! What a day!

But consider this.  In the middle of all the humor of this story is a very simple, clear lesson to be learned: The man with an idea is always at the mercy of a man with an experience.

Christianity is a living religion. Christ is alive, He has made us alive, now we walk in newness of life.  Do you talk all spiritual like the Pharisees, without any life to back up your claims?  Or are you like the blind man and you know that you know that you know that you have been transformed by the power of God?  That answer makes all the difference.

See, in the end of the story, Jesus accepted the healed man as His disciple, but rejected the Pharisees saying they were "blind with no hope for sight" because they would not accept the fact that they were spiritually blind.
At any point if we start to cover our wrongs with a blanket of pride, we will be the same way - pompous people spouting theology we have no clue about. If we quit living in daily resurrection power we become men with only an idea...no true experience to grant conviction to our witnessing. No resurrection life brought by repentance, no testimony of God's grace to bring faith to others, and so no overcoming power (Rev 12:11).

But, if we come like blind men to Christ...if we recognize a great need, accept His healing however it comes, believe wholeheartedly in His deity, and trust completely in His ability to save, then we will be healed.

How are you gaining victory over sin today?  What is your testimony of God's grace that's fresh in your heart? What's your "I once was blind, but now I see" story that is current and alive in you right now?