According to his critics, Jesus went to the wrong places, said the wrong things, and worse of all, let just anyone into the kingdom. Jesus scandalized an elitist, country-club religion by opening membership in the spiritual life to anyone. What made people furious, was Jesus’ “irresponsible” habit of throwing open the doors of his love to the whoever; the just-any-ones; and the not-a-chance people.
John tells the story of an outsider, a blind man. The blind man bumped into Jesus, and became a scandal to the religious leaders of his day. His miraculous encounter with Jesus is a model for us who are trying to live spiritual lives. In John chapter 9, we meet this man; who was blind from birth, sitting in his familiar place, begging. The disciples bring up some theological question about whether his blindness was caused by his own sin or by his parents’ sin. They are not con¬cerned about the blind man; what they are concerned about is the theology of blindness. The disciples attempt to have a the¬ological discussion, but Jesus cuts it short. He makes it very clear that what really matters is helping this blind man. The disciples are worried about theories and doctrines; Jesus is worried about the blind man. The disciples are philosophizing about the cause of his blindness, while Jesus is seeking a cure. A little mud and a miracle, and the man can see!
Have you noticed that sometimes when good things happen to people (blind man gets healed- unblind), their friends are not necessarily happy. Meeting Jesus does not always result in our troubles ending; sometimes our troubles just begin. When the man who was formerly blind returns to his neighborhood, his neighbors refuse to believe he can see. Unable to fathom the possibility of a mira¬cle, the neighbors turn their backs on their friend and drag him to those who should have known something about miracles and spirituality—the religious leaders, the Condemners.
The sabotage of the blind man begins. The Condemners try to force the blind man to renounce Jesus by asking him to confirm that Jesus is anything but the Messiah- that in fact, he is a sinner. What can the blind man possibly say to defend himself? He trusts his ignorance. He says, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” The blind man does the only thing he can do; he tells his strange, polit¬ically incorrect, irrational story. He tells the truth!
Brennan Manning tells the story of a convert to Jesus who was approached by an unbelieving friend. “So you have been converted to Christ?” “Yes.” “Then you must know a great deal about Him. Tell me what country was He born in?” “I don’t know.” “What was his age when he died?” “I don’t know.” “How many sermons did he preach?” “I don’t know.” “You certainly know very little for a man who claims to be converted to Christ.” “You are right. I am ashamed at how little I know about Him. But this much I know: Three years ago I was a drunkard, in debt and my family was falling to pieces. But now I have given up drink. We are out of debt. My family is back together and my children eagerly await my return home each evening. This much I do know; it was all because of Jesus Christ!”
Maybe the alcoholic and the blind man didn’t know much about Jesus, but they knew plenty about their “encounter” with Jesus. They may not know all the right theological answers, but they knew the right man. The blind man doesn’t know much about Jesus, but he knows what Jesus did. He can’t define a Messiah, but he certainly can describe what it is like to see a flower for the first time, because of the Messiah.
How do we view our encounter with Jesus? Are we embarrassed to talk about Jesus like the Pharisees, or are we willing to stand and tell what Jesus did for us and what He means to us? Are we willing to stay, “I too was once spiritually blind, but now I see?” This January, stand for your faith and tell someone the goodness of your Savior!
-Pastor Mike Kotrla