Daily Devotional: John 9:13–34

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 9:13–34.

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible.

I’m fully aware of how cracked that sounds. But, honestly, every time I read it, I marvel at the events.

It just feels so utterly… human. It’s stories like these that convince me of the gospel’s eyewitness account, because it’s like… of course Pharisees would react like children.

If you’ve never been in an argument where you’ve wondered if the other person has simply lost touch with reality, you clearly are the person who regularly loses touch with reality. And if you have been in such an argument, you undoubtedly know how quickly you yourself can be put on the defensive and start disregarding basic facts and degrading the other person in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance.

To what lengths will you go to protect your version of reality?

A healthy life probably involves getting our version of reality and our vision of the truth violated over and over again. If God is doing absolutely confounding things in your life, maybe, perhaps, it’s because your misattributing things to humanness or the way the world works instead of a God who might be so determined to expand your mind that He’s willing to bend it over and over again.

And yet, it’s the seasons of our lives where we are stuck asking, “God, what the hell are you doing? Is this you? Or am I going insane?” that make our faith honest, because it roots it deeper in mystery, beyond our ability to understand it.

And it’s easy in those moments to turn away the prophetic voice God strategically planted in our lives, and say just like the Pharisees, “How dare you lecture us!”

Hopefully, in those moments, we’ll remember that God has always delighted in making His message come through the unlikeliest of sources, through rejects, slaves, and even donkeys, if only we’d be willing to open our ears to hear His voice resonating, rumbling, shaking underneath the surface.

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