41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
Presuppositions. A fancy word which means an implicit assumption about the world or a background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Whew! Everyone has presuppositions. We assume that everything we believe is correct — or else we wouldn’t believe it!
The Pharisees, like us, had a lot of presuppositions. They assumed they were entirely correct in their view of the Sabbath and their view of Jesus. But before them stands a man who is looking around for the first time in his life. He’s starting fresh. All his assumptions and presuppositions have been radically altered by one act from this “sinner” — Jesus.
Frustrated that their inquisition isn’t helping them in the least, they put the man born blind on the spot again and add an ingredient to the dispute, an ingredient that worked well for the Pharisees — GUILT!
“What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” No situation is too difficult or complicated that a little guilt can’t be added to it! “You started this! Your blindness caused Jesus to work on the Sabbath! What do you have to say for yourself?”
But the man born blind “hasn’t got time for the . . . guilt” (to borrow the words from an old Carly Simon song). He declares about Jesus “He is a prophet.” Oops. Wrong answer. And the dialogue will continue to seriously degenerate in the next few moments. (to be continued)
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
They logically deduced, from their premise that their view of Sabbath-keeping was the correct one, that Jesus could not be the Messiah promised of God. It just did not make sense! Why would the Messiah violate His own commandments about treating the Sabbath as holy?
As we learn in Jesus’ other fights with the Pharisees, they had replaced God’s Word with their own traditions. What they were defending was not always God’s truth, but their perspectives and additions and expansions of God’s truths. And Jesus seemed to not care a whit when He broke their Sabbath!
NOT KEEPING THE SABBATH = NOT BEING FROM GOD. Their logic was impeccable. The only problem was that they now had a healed tourist in their midst, a grown man who wanted to go SIGHT-seeing! He had been healed — by a Sabbath-breaker!
Their theological machinery was blowing a gasket! “How can a sinner perform such signs?” Of course, every miracle done by God through every human being in the Bible (apart from Jesus) was done through a sinner, was it not? Something was terribly wrong — either with the miracle itself or the details of the miracle or the Person of Jesus. Or their presupposition about the Sabbath?
I imagine that by this time the man born blind was becoming increasingly impatient. Fingers pointing at him. Accusations made. Questions hurled like poisonous darts. Looks of disgust, religious indignation, logical confusion reigning. He was probably done with talking. He wanted to go see some things. (to be continued)
25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
Ah, the miracle was done on the SABBATH! The Pharisees saw themselves as the keepers of the Sabbath and their logic or lack of logic got them into a lot of debates with Jesus over the purpose of the Sabbath.
Jesus did not check the calendar to see what day it was before He spat on the ground, made mud, put it on this man’s eyes, and told him to go wash. For Jesus the time was always right for a miracle!
The religiosity of the Pharisees blinded them from the truth about the Sabbath, the truth about this blind man, and the truth about Jesus. Religion has a way of doing that.
Religion can be a substitute for the righteousness that is offered freely in the gospel. Religion can take the place of compassion. Religion can poison one’s mind and cause one to think that he or she can work their way to heaven. Religion can seduce one into minimizing God’s mercy and trampling on His grace. Religion nailed the Son of God to the cross, didn’t it?
There is indeed a God-consciousness built inside each of us that is either met by God’s mercy or twisted by man’s own religious efforts.
The Creator of man, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, stooped to make mud, much like man’s original creation in the beginning. He can make mud and He can fashion it any way He chooses. But man can judge Him by man’s religion and condemn His creative intervention into our world of darkness. In a world of dust and dirt and precious little spiritual water, He spits on the ground He made and does something wonderful. Which religion condemns. (to be continued)
17 Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.