asking the wrong questions | John 9.3a
Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents…” John 9.3a | ESV
But Jesus saw more than an opportunity to solve a riddle; not taking his eyes off the blind man for a moment, he told them, “You’re missing the point. Neither. Not this one, and not them either. You’re asking the wrong questions…” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
So easy to think of it as finding and being true to the right answers. But in reality we only hit upon true orthodoxy when we finally arrive at the right questions. True heresy is ultimately obsessing on the wrong questions or attempting far too detailed an answer to the right questions.
Jesus paused before one of no doubt many blind beggars, and because he did, his disciples did.
Where have they been all this time? Through two chapters of conflict and public verbal scuffling they haven’t even been mentioned, they make no appearance.
After the debate.
After the anger.
After the rocks and the clenched fists.
Before a blind beggar.
Are they asking Jesus – the one who just said, “I am the light of the world!” – are they asking him, “Hey, You’re the light of the world, why don’t you be light for this blind man?” No they don’t. And neither would we, I reckon, if we even stopped to see the blind man in our typically mad rush or to notice that Jesus had stopped.
They at least did that much.
But instead of seeing a yawning chasm of darkness into which they had a present opportunity to shine light, they only saw a sad theological riddle. “Why is this thus and so, and what is the reason for this thusness?” It’s the monk on the rope missing the strawberry because he’s wondering what he did that got him in this hard place to begin with. Such theological queries tend to lead us into a spate of wrong questions and bad answers.
And a whole lot of missed strawberries.
Says Paul, “The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of [theological] gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence” (1 Timothy 1:7, Message, of course).
Less imposing eloquence, please.
And how about the right theological question when confronted with a man who has been blind from birth, begging in the street:
“How can God’s light shine here?”
Ask the right question. “How can God’s light shine here, now, in and through me?”
Light of the world, light up my heart and vision with the right question today, leading me, not to the right answer that will tickle my intellect and prop up my religious ego, but that will break me open so that your light can shine. Through Christ.