call off the inquisition | John 9.35-41
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. John 9.35-41 | ESV
Jesus heard they had de-synagogued the man. He found him, and asked, “Are you ready to lay it all on the line for the One, the Ultimate Human Being, the Son of Man?” His response was immediate. “Just show me who he is, sir, so that I can do just that!” Taking his face in his hands, Jesus says, “You’re looking at him. He’s the one talking to you right now.” “I lay it all down for you. Lord,” he said. And then he fell down before him, clutching his feet and kissing them.
Now a crowd had started gathering, including some of the Strict Sect types, so Jesus made this pronouncement: “The verdict on the system – this whole religious/social/political world of yours – is in, and I’ve come to announce it: Those who are blind are the ones who see, and those who see are blind as bats.” That got the Strict Sect types talking: “What’s that supposed to mean – that we’re blind too? Who are you kidding!?” Then Jesus repeated the verdict, the gavel falling, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t have the culpability and accountability for your sin and rebellion; but with you so proudly proclaiming your insight, you’ll be held accountable for every. little. bit.” MAV
Paul’s warning is quite appropriate to top off this week’s reflections on the blind man’s “inquisition”:
These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
(1 Corinthians 10:11-12, the Message)
Yes, our positions in this story are parallel.
We just want to make sure that it’s the right parallel.
We want to be parallel with the blind man, to be blessed with his sight, looking into the face of Christ and experiencing faith in the seeing – even if it means being de-synagogued.
And we want to be ever so nonparallel with the religious elite who couldn’t see past their pre-approved prejudices to the light and sight right before their faces.
Time to call off the inquisition.
Time to leave the bunker.
Time to clutch the feet of the sight-giving Christ.
How significant is it that Christ doesn’t appear again in this story until this moment.
After the verdict.
After the rejection.
He finds the man.
He affirms him.
He calls him to faith despite the rejection and misunderstanding that he has endured from those who should know and do better in the official vaulted halls of religion. What a revelation that we can only cling to Christ because he is the one who has come to us, seeking us out, showing us his face, inviting us to step into deeper faith.
What a revelation to see that this is what he would have has passing on to others…
Who can you embrace today that has been “de-synagogued” – rejected – by others?
Light of the world, let your light shine through me upon those who have known the sting of rejection and who sit in the dark cell of alienation and exclusion. Give me hands and heart to take their face in my hands and point them to your unquenchable heart of love. Through Christ.