27 July 2020John 9:24-41
‘But now that you say, “We see,” your sin remains.’ (v. 41)
Psalm: Psalm 89:1-18
I don’t like to talk, write or think about ‘sin’, it was overdone in my more hard-line, Protestant past. I don’t deny my failings though, both large and small. Jesus’ approach to this question, as with many others, is rather different. It seems that we don’t really follow him, we don’t think and act like him. If we can put aside our dogma and theological frameworks, we may see that the glass which offers a dim reflection (1 Corinthians 13) begins to clear. In short, he says, don’t worry about, and especially don’t label, those who you think may be sinners, if you do then you’ve gone completely wrong. He is consistent on this in both the Synoptics and in John’s Gospel, a rare example of him speaking with the same voice in both sets of writings.
Jesus’ message is human-centred, or even, being human-centred is the message. In our selected text ‘We see’ is a competitive statement, telling others that we know or see better. A similar story in Mark’s Gospel tells us that it is the ‘righteous’ who really need saving but take great pains to exclude themselves. He even says, “I came into this world for judgment [ie to identify and discriminate between] so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”
Another reason for highlighting this issue of the problem with ‘seeing’ (ie realising) is to avoid perpetuating ableist language and messaging when reflecting on Scripture. Being ‘blind’ is not a problem and those people who are physically blind are not illustrations of what it is like not to respond to the Gospel. As so often, Jesus turns things on their head, being ‘able’ to do something, but not ‘seeing’ our problem (realising that we don’t really understand at all), though we claim to prevents us responding.
- Why does Jesus spend so much energy challenging the explicitly religious?
- What is he telling us as religious people?