The Blind Man Sees, The Pharisees Overlook

Such would be the title of a newspaper article which covered the events found in John 9. In verses 1-7, the Lord Jesus and His disciples passed a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples questioned the Lord as to the cause of the man’s blindness: his parents’ sin or his own. The Lord was able to reveal great insight as to the purpose of His miracles by answering, “neither.” Reality was that this man was blind so that Christ would be able to work through him and reveal His glory, as well as the Father’s, to the blind man, as well as to the disciples. This was the purpose of all of Jesus’ miracles – “…that the works of God should be made manifest….”

After being healed, the ex-blind man was then brought to the Pharisees by his neighbors (vs. 8, 13). Here’s where it gets interesting (as if it weren’t before). It was obvious to the people that something miraculous happened. So, they brought the man to the guys who, of all people, should have been able to understand and appreciate what took place. However, the Pharisees took the fact that this miracle had been preformed on the Sabbath and declared that Jesus was “not of God, because He does not keep the sabbath day.” Amazing! The thing that the Lord did in order to prove that He was sent from God, they used it to prove that He was not sent from God! As in verse 39 of this chapter, the blind saw and the seeing was blind.

Before I proceed with my main thought, it should be noted that the telic purpose of this passage is a matter of willingness to believe Christ for who He is and what He taught. Humility and willingness to believe is rewarded with further revelation (i.e., the blind man eventually sees it all first hand in verses 35-38), while reserving skepticism and refusing to believe results in a darker blindness. This, however, opens the discussion for application from several perspectives. I would like to offer one such perspective.

The Pharisees missed the whole point of the miracle. They were second hand witnesses to a display of God’s glory, yet they concluded that Jesus could not be from God because the miracle did not measure up to their misguided standard. Reading this passage we are likely to throw our hands up in frustration, perplexed at how someone could mislabel such a wonderful thing just because it did not fit a standard they had created. It is almost as if they said, “Sure, He healed a blind man, but He did it on the Sabbath so He can’t be from God.”

But we do that all the time. We frequently see great things done by God through good men and good material, and we write them off as being “not of God” because it violates some half baked or misinterpreted standard that is hardly Biblical itself. And it is not just those on the legalistic side of things, either.

We toss out volumes of material that defend the core of Biblical Christianity because we heard someone say something about some part of some misunderstood sentence. “Sure, it says a lot of good stuff, but there is that one part where they deny the blood.” Or, “Sure, it says a lot of good stuff, but he publishes his own stuff.”

We discredit decades of ministry through which God has done marvelous things because the men responsible do have a code of separation that is different from ours. “Sure, he has done a lot of stuff for the Lord, but he preached with a ‘neo’ that one time.” Or, “Sure, he has been preaching for a long time, but he refuses to work with anybody.”

We refuse to so much as whisper a good word about conferences which are fully devoted to purging and purifying American Christianity from modernism and theological liberalism because of our lesser standards. “Sure, they’ll be a great emphasis on exposition and doctrine, but there’s going to be drums.” Or, “Sure, they’ll be a lot of good preaching, but it will probably all be from the King James.”

I am afraid we overlook so much. We see God work and miraculous things happen, but we disregard it all because none of it meets our custom built standard of what this and that should and should’nt be. Of course, I am not talking about things that are downright not Biblical. If I were, this would be a completely different discussion. I am talking about the things we disregard which in no way exceed Biblical boundaries.

I also do not intend to downplay personal or ecclesiastical standards at all. If I were, then this passage would not even apply. However, I am saying that we need to examine our reasons for discrediting the things we discredit. Otherwise, we might overlook a miracle.


1 comment so far

  1. DT on

    How true! If God can work through sinful people, then it should be expected that there will always be imperfection surrounding the situation, on behalf of the person, of course, not God. But yet we tend to overlook the power of God and focus on the one thing we don’t like about so-and-so. This is a good reminder not only for fundamentalists, but as you pointed out, anti-fundamentalists who can be just as obnoxious.

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