Saturday

02 August 2014

“‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’” (vv. 19-21)


Background

This passage reads as another case of mistaken identity.

The healed man is unable to answer questions about Jesus because he could not identify Jesus - his testimony although plain to see - was limited by his marginalisation from society. It is only after the event of his healing that he is noticed, and years of being ignored mean that he is less than articulate responding to articulate rheoriticians.

The man's family, afraid for their own safety and security refuse to leave the comfort of their own apathy, and instead force their son to defend himself rather than to enter into the debate. They were only too aware of either sounding outlandish, or saying something that would offend the religious leaders.

The healed man is disbelieved by the religious authorities who found it easier to think that this was a prank, rather than a miracle.

Jesus is described as a sinner (verse 16), rather than offering healing out of innate goodness. The authorities were desperate to prove that Jesus was anything other than who he said he was - not least of all because the miracle took place on the Sabbath - a holy day (verses 14, 16).

Yet, in the midst of the confusion, fear, anxiety, joy and anger, there is also an invitation to pay closer attention. To notice, as the blind man had, God in the midst of life's trials and traumas - and to be obedient.

... Pay attention to the detail of a situation rather than the noise of a situation. Pay attention to the spiritual undertones of a situation and taking the invitation to participate in God's narrative. Take time to walk, to smell, to read, to look, to taste, to listen, to recognise patterns and detail, to be slower, to breathe, to look up and to linger.

The challenge of this passage is not to be distracted by the opportunities of mistaken identities, broken promises or red taped rules - but to take Jesus' statement seriously. To recognise the light of Christ refracted around the world in which we live; and to be transformed by the kaleidoscopic lenses of grace, healing, hope and promise.


To Ponder

  • How might you intentionally pay more attention to your surroundings today?
  • Where do you notice God at work on the edges of society and our local community?
  • To what do you need to be obedient, today?


Bible notes author: 
The Revd Joanne Cox

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