Though they should have been staring into his eyes, they were instead fixated on the mud stains on his shirt. Though they should have been in awe that his eyes were looking at them, instead they were enraged that it was on the Sabbath that a man blind since birth was made to see. They looked a seeing blind man in the eyes and yet they saw nothing.
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.” They said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
(John 9:24-26 ESV)
The Pharisees had already lost the first two debates. In round one the man who had formerly been blind stood before them. He who had not been able to see anything since birth had already looked these interrogators in the eye and had already told them once of how Jesus had made his dead eyes alive. Of how as a lifelong creature of perpetual darkness he had now been transferred into the realm of glorious light. Logical conclusion? . . . Jesus is a Man of miracles. Their conclusion? . . . this blind man seeing was never really blind. Let’s interrogate his parents. And in round two they did. Only to end up at the same place,
His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.”
(John 9:20b-21 ESV)
And so, round three. They call before them again the blind man seeing. And because they had already dealt with the “who” question in their own minds–“We know this Man is a sinner”–they focused instead on the “what” and the “how” questions. Because of the hardness of their hearts, in order to justify themselves they were forced into majoring on the minors.
And as much as I marvel at the blind man seeing in this story, I also wonder at the seeing men who were blind. Religious men. Men who knew the Scriptures. Men who talked of Messiah’s coming. Yet men who couldn’t recognize Messiah even when the signs and wonders that testified of His coming stared them straight in the eye. Men whose pride and self-preservation over-shadowed the Son of God’s power and self-revelation. It’s not they could not believe. It’s that they would not believe.
And so they majored on the minors. They fixated on the finer points of what constituted work on the Sabbath as the ultimate measure of whether or not sight had really been given to the blind. They refused to look into the man’s eyes and instead looked at the dirt on his shirt.
And I can’t help but think there’s a warning in this for me. A caution about being so wrapped up in my understanding of the “what” and “how” heaven works that I miss the “who.” Of being so focused on how the details should play out that I look beyond the people actually touched by Deity.
Not that I don’t need to be grounded in the Scriptures. Not that it shouldn’t be the standard and measure. Not that anything goes. But that there should be a humility–I just might not have it all figured out. And on matters of secondary importance there should be grace-filled latitude. So that I don’t end up majoring on minors and missing the miracles that are staring me in the face. Blind men seeing . . . lame women running . . . lost people found . . . dead people alive.
All by His grace. All for His glory.