I’ve been challenged on a local conservative talk forum to take the lead on the discussion of the book of John. While my conversations there are usually much shorter than this, I decided I really needed to write this. Let me say, I love the book of John. Sure, there is a lot to love in the Bible, but the book of John just holds a special place for me. This book shows Christ in all His glory, not just the Son of God, but God Himself. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
I’ve started at chapter 9 because that is where the discussion on the forum had gotten to before I got there. I will endeavor to go back to the first chapter and cover the first eight here as well, but for now, I give you my thoughts on chapter 9.
What strikes me first is the disciples’ attitude towards this blind man. The Jewish culture at this time regarded any malformation as a result of sin. Now, in the broader sense, that our human bodies are full of sin and are therefore no longer perfect, yes, that is the case. Every disease, every deformity, every chemical imbalance is caused by Adam allowing sin into his life. We have lived around 6000 years since that time, and our bodies have become weaker and weaker over time, genetically. Sin has taken a toll on the human race.
However, that is not what the disciples were talking about. They wanted to know specifically who sinned a sin so grievous that this man was blinded. They actually blamed the man himself for sinning so badly that he was born blind! Can you imagine the indoctrination and tradition that would be required to think this? The man did not sin, neither his parents. That’s what Jesus said. Now, in the sense that we are all sinners, yes, they were as well, however this case of blindness was not caused by any of their specific sins.
But notice it was not just the disciples that believed this man or his parents sinned to cause the blindness. If you go to verse 34 of the same chapter, the Pharisees that were questioning him, not willing to hear the truth, told him, “Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?” This is a fact; all men are born in sin, as Romans 3:23 points out; “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” However, the rulers at the synagogue were pointing out that this man was somehow less than them because he was “born in sins,” as if somehow they were not. They were obviously referencing the fact that he had been born blind.
This shows the arrogance and religious superiority that these Pharisees felt about themselves. They knew the truth, they were educated, and they were the end of the discussion when it came to spiritual or doctrinal matters. When they were confronted with the truth, they more or less stuck their fingers in their ears and said, “I can’t hear you.” It was as effective as what they actually did. They called the man names, dismissed his testimony as worthless, and sent him away.
Can you think of anyone who does this today? Many “theologians” today are confronted with the truth, and yet dismiss it. If a man speaks against homosexuality, saying truthfully that the Bible speaks against it, these educated men and women say, “Well, Jesus never actually spoke against it.” Jesus did speak up in favor of traditional marriage, however, because he was against divorce and polygamy, as we can see in Matthew 19. Those were the issues of the time. Homosexuality was a known deviance, and He would not have spoken out about it, because the Jews wouldn’t have confronted Him with it.
I’ve often said that if Jesus is the Word, as John states, then the entire Word is what Jesus said. Jesus is the living Word, and the entire Bible is His Word. The Holy Spirit, who is equal with Jesus as part of the trinity, and they two equal with God, then when Paul writes against homosexuality in the epistles, under the authority of the Holy Spirit, then he is writing what Jesus wants to be written.
I only bring up that issue because it is the issue of the day. There are many more sins which people these days want to let slide because they “aren’t that big a deal,” or because “Jesus never spoke on that.” The Bible is clear; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” That was Paul in II Timothy 3:16. That verse cuts to the quick. You either believe in all of the Bible, or you cannot believe in any of it. Because all of it is given by inspiration of God. You say, “Well how do we know that Paul was really inspired by God?”
If he wasn’t, then you can’t believe anything he wrote. And if you can’t believe Paul, then what makes you think you can believe James, John, Peter, or even Moses and Isaiah? Why should you believe David?
I’ve run the rabbit trail enough. The focus is this. Jesus Christ healed a blind man. The man or his parents did not cause his blindness through sin. God wanted to show his power. God wanted to show his glory. God caused the man’s blindness to prove a point. That is the crux of this blog today. What we believe about our religion cannot be confused with what our Bible actually teaches. People believe all kinds of things that aren’t in the Bible.
The problem is, many people don’t actually know what is in the Bible, because they haven’t picked one up in years. They simply rely on the Pastor, or the evangelist, or the televangelist. They rely on blogs like this one (not this one, because I have pitifully few followers), or they rely on some website that puts lists together and says they’re “Christian.”
These Pharisees thought they had eternal life in the scriptures, but like Jesus told them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” The scripture, Old Testament and New, speak about Jesus. Sure, in the Old it was hidden; that’s why Jesus said search. The New Testament speaks openly about Jesus, and tells us exactly how to worship, what He did, and how we ought to live our lives.
I’ll say it again, though I’ve said it before; “Search the scriptures.” I constantly tell my congregation, “If I say something against what the Bible says, call me on it. I don’t want to teach something wrong.” Likewise, before every service, I pray to God to guard my lips against saying anything that would offend Him. It is how we ought to live daily; do things to show the work of Jesus. Say those things that would edify the saints, and promote Jesus in the lives of others. And, seriously, search the scriptures. That’s where you find Jesus. The scriptures testify of Him.