Sunday, November 04, 2007

Whoever is not satisfied with Christ alone, strives after something beyond absolute perfection

John 9v13-34 The Trial – a comedy of false assumptions...

Jesus disappears from the scene for most of the rest of the story and we're left to watch people try and figure things out. What we find is a comedy of errors, false assumptions and ignorance exposed. Listen to their questions, observe their motives. What we have here is a classic sting operation, the case of the man whose sight is restored exposing the blindness of the authorities.


Immediately the authorities have a problem. The ask what happened and then pronounce judgement. The man tells them what Jesus did and they declare “this man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath” - v16. There is no compassion. There is no joy. There is no awe. Rather they seek to use this amazing event to disqualify Jesus on a technicality. He healed on a Sabbath, a Saturday. And since, God doesn't work on Saturdays they say Jesus isn't from God.

They have what looks like a blindingly obvious work of God and yet their assumptions prevent them from seeing. It happens today – people assume “God could not do this or that”. We might be tempted to say that they're putting God in a box, but it's more subtle than that. God is not nebulous and undefined. He is who he has revealed himself to be. We are not at liberty to make our own judgements above and beyond what he has spoken. We can only believe what the scripture tells us about God.

We find people starting with their own ideas about God, like all human religions do – saying God must be like this or that. Someone says they believe in God, but which God – what God? The God who heals on Saturdays or the one who doesn't? Jesus however, v5, has come into the world to do the work of God. And it would seem he doesn't care for their pre-existing assumptions about God. Jesus is who he is.


They question the man again. He says – Jesus is a prophet. Now we're getting to the heart of it. It's not so much the Saturdays issue anymore. They're desperate to exclude Jesus and so they say – God couldn't have done it AND you were never blind. They cry, hoax. It's blindingly obvious that the man can see. That empirical evidence is simply unavoidable. And so they have to say – ah, he was never blind! They draw the scientific conclusion – if he sees today he must have been able to see yesterday. How do you prove it – ask his parents, they'll say he could always see and the case will be closed.


His parents arrive but wont play the game. They confirm that he was blind. They're invited to bring interpretation, but they wont. Why? Because they don’t know? No, look at v22. John tells us that they know exactly what is going on. The authorities have decreed that it's a sin to say Jesus is the Christ – whatever the evidence says. The evidence is blindingly obviously saying that Jesus is the Christ, God's rescuer and King. But they will not accept it. It happens today. People say its nice that we have faith but they wont push the implications. Then, as today, if Jesus is the Christ you can't be indifferent. It effects everyone. To say it is to have to say that a billion Muslims are wrong, and that the majority of people on earth are headed for hell. They spin a complex web of arguments to try and avoid it but everyone can see what they're doing. They're desperate to be rid of Jesus. They hate him. But the light continues to shine...


The temperature rises. The authorities have the courage of their convictions. If its a sin to say Jesus is the Christ then it must be virtuous to say Jesus is a sinner. “Give glory to God by condemning Jesus”. V24. It's strong stuff. People don't mind critiquing Christians but few will say a bad word against Jesus. They look for 'the Christ' to come but they want him on their own terms, Jesus doesn't fit for them. John Calvin puts it well saying: “Whoever is not satisfied with Christ alone, strives after something beyond absolute perfection”


With Jesus identity in full view we reach the heart of the issue. They recall the man. They ask him the same questions again. He answers back saying – do you want to follow Jesus? You're very interested? v28. That really annoys them, so they turn on him with insults. They say – “You’re his disciple, we follow Moses! We don’t know where Jesus is from”. Back in John 5v44 Jesus has already said that all the evidence in Moses, in the Old Testament points to Jesus being the Christ. They kick him out, outraged.
They'd made their minds up before the conversation began. For all their clever arguments and explanations the real issue is their refusal to believe in Jesus. The issue isn't intellectual, it's moral. And yet, shining the light of the gospel working of Jesus into the situation is the only remedy. It can result in only two outcomes - diagnosed blindness or people who see the glory of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. I kinda think the whole point is that they used THE BIBLE and legalism to explain away Christ.