ATP Blog #66
In today’s culture, there is a lot of talk of cancelling (casting out) those who believe different than the majority (or at least the loud mouths). Have you ever been mocked, and asked repeated questions for stating a fact that the other person did not like? Imagine, you have just been miraculously healed, shared your testimony (with only observable facts), only to have the leaders you have been taught to respect challenge you with more questions! That is exactly what happened with this poor man. We have examined the story of the man born blind, whom Jesus healed. If the story had ended after his testimony, ‘One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ (John 9:25) that would have been great, but certain individuals just wouldn’t leave it alone.
Hatred for Jesus ‘Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.’ Wow! Know? That is a pretty strong word. That is kind of like saying, ‘I know that the world was created through evolution.’ It is amazing how hate skews a persons’ perspective on truth. John 15:18-19 says, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” This man was finding this out first-hand, and had to come to a decision: follow the world, or follow Jesus Christ. He barely knew Jesus at this point, but the religious leaders were showing their true colours, and skewing the facts in their favour. Do you want to continue respecting and following the people who change your story to match their belief system?
Hatred for Truth ‘I have told you already [what happened], and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?’ I can imagine the red faces at this point. The man is flustered because they keep asking him how he was healed, hoping his story would change. He then, knowing how they felt about Jesus (insisting that He is a sinner), asked if they were wanting to become His followers and students! Now, because he had spoken very forthrightly, ‘they reviled him.’ (v28) ‘You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.’ Even though Jesus had clearly stated that He had existed before Abraham, and had been present when God gave the laws to Moses, these leaders had become intentionally blind to the truth, because it did not match up with what they believed … or wanted to believe. How often is that even true for us, ignoring the parts of the Bible we do not like, or that do not match up with what we have been taught? Who do you follow, God as given through His Word, or traditions as passed down through people you respect? What do you do when they conflict?
Hatred for Confrontation ‘This is an amazing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God, and does His will, God listens to him. Never, since the world began, has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.’ The man was throwing their teaching in their faces! Basically he was telling them, ‘You taught me that God only listens to the obedient. Only God can heal a man born blind. Therefore, this man must be from God. How can you not see this?’ Apparently, these leaders did not take confrontation well. They then accused the man of being a very bad sinner, and cast him out of the temple (full excommunication). It is interesting that this man born blind would have better sight, and theological insight, than the religious leaders who had taught him. What do you do when those you respect, reject or cancel you because of what you know to be true? Could he have been less confrontational to win them over to the truth?
Dealing with hatred We are constantly going to be encountering these types of people unfortunately. 2 Peter 2:1-3 warns us, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” Persecution from non-Christians is hard enough, but to be challenged constantly by people who call themselves Christians is even harder. Their hatred for the truth becomes evident quickly when they encounter a part of it that they do not like. Do not take it personally. They are rejecting the True Christ, as were the religious leaders in today’s passage. We must choose whom we will follow, and then stick with it. They will reject you, even casting you out of their places of worship. I say, ‘Oh well. Time to move on to people who want to listen.’ The man did not seem to be upset about being cast out. I am sure he became quite the testimony to his neighbours and friends about what Christ had done for him. So can you be.