I appreciate a good debate. I admire those who can build an argument, precept by precept. Those who can verbally spar with others, making point and counter-point. Those who, at some point in the debate, leave their prepared notes and go into “real time” mental mode in order to respond to their opponent’s assertions or arguments. It takes a lot of mental capacity and quick thinking–not just to store up the facts and data but to retrieve and shape them into cohesive thoughts.
This morning I’m sitting back and noodling on one of my favorite debates in all Scripture.
In this corner, the Pharisees. The crème de la crème of Jewish religious thought and understanding. Learned men. Men trained in the things of God and the traditions of their forefathers. Smart and powerful men.
In the other corner, a seeing blind guy. Born without sight at birth, never afforded the opportunity to learn at the feet of the greats because he spent his life on street corners at the feet of anyone who might throw him a bit of change. Beyond talking to his parents as a kid, he probably didn’t have a lot of opportunity to sharpen his verbal skills. In all likelihood, I’m guessing, not a lot of people paused to engage him in stimulating conversation. But there he stands across the table from the religious elite . . . staring into their eyes . . . and they staring into his. And the question being debated, “Is Jesus a sinner?”
Those trained in the finer points of the law looked into the crystal clear seeing eyes of a man blind from birth and concluded that the One who had given Him sight must be a sinner because He did so by having the blind man wash mud off his eyes on the Sabbath. Clean dirt off your unseeing eyes? That’s work, they said. Do that on the Sabbath? That’s sin, they said. That you came back seeing? Doesn’t matter, they said. That not since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind? Don’t wanna hear it, they said. That only God could do such a miracle? Get out of our sight, they said.
How do you debate that? What argument can be presented to refute such stiff-necked thinking? What point or counter-point succeeds against such irrational, sin-darkened reasoning?
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
(John 9:24-25 ESV)
One thing I know, says the seeing blind guy.
Look into my eyes. See them staring into your soul. Say what you will . . . rationalize all you want . . . go ahead and protect your position with your convoluted reasoning. But know this, that you are toe to toe with a blind man seeing. So who this Man is exactly, I don’t know . . . YET! But one think I do know, once I was blind but now I see!
Game . . . Set . . . Match!
There are many things I don’t know. High and lofty things that I don’t really understand. Details still to be worked out. Insights still to be gained. But one thing I know, though I was blind, now I see. Though I once walked in the darkness, now I live in the light. Though my sin was once a death sentence, the price has been paid in full by Another and I am a possessor of eternal life. Though my flesh once ruled, it is losing power day-by-day as the Spirit increasingly, by God’s grace, prevails.
How did it all happen? What are the 6, or 7, or 12 steps to salvation? Which came first, faith or regeneration? I don’t fully know.
But one thing I know . . . I am not who I was. I am a new creation in Christ by the glories of the cross. I live for a world not of this world. And I see, by faith, a Bridegroom who is making ready His bride for a great wedding day.
All by His grace . . . all for His glory.