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April 21, 2013

“I am the light of the world” – Jesus

“Put that light out! – ARP Warden Hodges (Dad’s Army)

Some thoughts on John 9.

This is quite a remarkable chapter which talks about blindness on many levels. It starts in darkness, the light appears to be victorious but things end with an even more sinister darkness.

The story revolves around a healing. A pretty spectacular one a that. The healing of a man born blind. But it starts with a theory lesson first before the practice. First of all the pupils have a question for the teacher. Why is this man blind? Why was he born this way? These things don’t just happen do they? Is it something he’s done (illogical – he was born that way!) or is it his parents’ fault.

Jesus dismisses these notions. There is no blame attached. Isn’t it enough to be blind, without having people heap the blame on you too?! No, things don’t work like that. Bad things happen, but God is in this and going to do something good. God is going to be glorified in this. Jesus said this is a dark world but he is the light.

By a rather unhygienic process the man is healed and surely therein is the happy ending. Everybody is happy. Ex blind man stops begging and gets a career. Family thrilled. Neighbours praise God. Pharisees rejoice at an increase in synagogue attendance. To quote Delboy “Everyone’s a winner. Lovely jubbly!”

His neighbours are confused. “Yes it’s him”. “No it’s a lookalike”. The man is insistent and is prepared to give testimony as to what has happened to him. “I was the blind man. Jesus did it”.

For some reason the man is taken to the Pharisees. Perhaps the people wanted some sort of confirmation of the man’s story. He describes what has happened to him. Surely the Pharisees will confirm the story and be happy too. But these are the Pharisees and we know them differently.

With their twisted logic the Pharisees see past the good news of the healing and hone in on the Sabbath laws. This was work – this was wrong. Never mind the healing. This Jesus is doing work on the Sabbath. Talk about seeing things in a warped way.

And they effectively called the man a liar and denied the miracle had even happened. So they ask the parents too. The parents were called to give evidence as well. Of course he is our son. Of course he was blind. But ask him – he is old enough to speak for himself.

Essentially the parents were copping out. They had to make a choice between their son and the synagogue. To side with him would have meant ex-communication from the synagogue and could have lost them their friends and livelihood. They chose to sit on the fence and preserve their religious status.

The man insists he has been healed. He insists that this man Jesus must be from God to do such a great miracle. What else could he say?

And so the man is thrown out. Out of the fellowship of the synagogue. Branded a sinner from birth. Which in turn might affect his new found employability. His life had been changed, but at what cost?

Jesus reveals his identity to the man. The man believes and worships him.

A blind man can see. There will be others. But Jesus says that people who can see will become blind. The Pharisees can still see but they choose the darkness. They choose to go against the evidence of their eyes and reject Jesus, when they should have recognised the works of God.

But so it still is. Jesus divides people. Those who see and those who don’t. More worryingly those who won’t even consider the evidence before them. They call “put that light out”, but the light of Jesus still shines and will bring light to many.


From → Christianity

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