Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 12)
In their interrogation of the man born blind, the Pharisees have found an intellectually capable opponent. This man acts like he has nothing to lose. And he’s willing to go toe to toe in challenging these “experts.”
In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.
Sarcasm from a Sinner? When the Pharisees admit they know virtually nothing about Jesus, the man born blind doesn’t let them off the hook. His response, presumably outloud, is, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes!” (v. 30). A supernatural miracle took place and they weren’t even up on local geography!
A Theological Lecture: The man born blind now has the audacity to put himself into the same category as the religious leaders when he says, “We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.” (v. 31). The last thing these Pharisees expected was to be lectured to by the man born blind! But his logic is sound: (1) God doesn’t listen to sinners; (2) He listens to the godly person who does His will; (3) God has listened to Jesus who has healed me! First conclusion: “Jesus is godly and is doing God’s will!” Second conclusion: “This man Jesus must be from God, otherwise he could do nothing!”
Argumentum ad Baculum: The Pharisees have no logical response and can only react to the man born blind by using force. This is called “argumentum ad baculum” (argument with a club!). This argument is a fear of force and is defined as “the fallacy committed when one appeals to force or the threat of force to bring about the acceptance of a conclusion.” Reason has failed the Pharisees. All they have left is . . . power.
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Their assumption about this man born blind (that his disability was the result of somebody’s sin) and their conclusion (there is no way that Jesus is from God) have been dismantled by this man’s logic. They then make a pronouncement of condemnation, followed by an expression of outrage, finishing up with a violent action. We’ll look at their response in our next post.
Today’s Challenge: You and I don’t really face such Pharisees today, do we? Yes, in the sense that it is quite difficult to change people’s assumptions. But that’s where boldness and prayer come in. We pray for the Holy Spirit to change hearts even as we present the facts as best as we can!
Tags: argument, logic, sarcasm, truth