by Wesley Blackburn
In my years of Christian elementary, Christian middle school, Christian high school, and now Christian college, I’ve heard the story of the blind man from John 9 several times. But recently I was challenged to really think about it; to think through the characters in the story, to feel what they were feeling, and most of all, to see the utter hilarity and craziness of the entire thing. Truly, this is one of the funniest stories in the Bible.
But it all comes back to the simple fact that, as humans, we have this uncanny ability to believe what we want to believe, regardless of fact. Some people have said that about Christians; that we believe in the existence of God and the resurrection and miraculous ministry of His Son, Jesus, in the face of all obvious facts. I think, though, that Christians can make a very similar argument against their non-believing counterparts. This story is one such argument.
So, we discover that there is a man who had been blind from birth, and Jesus heals him. As the man came home seeing, his neighbors were astounded. They knew this guy was blind. Yet now he could see! Some just thought they had this guy confused with someone else, but the man himself spoke and said that, yes indeed, he once was blind and now could see. The people asked how this happened, and the man told them about Jesus and how he had restored his sight.
However, because this miracle was done on the Sabbath (a day where the Jews were allowed to do no work, apparently including miracles), the man was brought before Jewish religious leaders for questioning (those guys had to be real killjoys). They asked the obvious question, “How can you see?” Again, just as before, the man told these people about Jesus and how his sight was restored.
But these religious leaders weren’t buying it. In fact, John 9:18 tells us that they thought the man was lying about being blind! So the man’s parents were brought in, and they confirmed that, yes indeed, this was their son, and sure enough, he had been blind from birth.
But at that point, the Bible divulges something that we probably knew all along anyway: the Jews had already decided that Jesus was not the Son of God that He claimed to be (John 9:22). In the face of all the facts right in front of them, the religious leaders refused to believe because they had already made up their mind. They would ask the man to give his testimony again, but he refused. He had already told them, and they had already refused to believe. Why tell them again?
Other than serving as a demonstration of Jesus’ power over everything, I think this story punches home the point that we always seem to find a way of believing what we want to. But in these situations where we just stubbornly hold onto our convictions and beliefs, the message of Jesus to us a lot of the time is quite simply, “You’re wrong.” It sounds pretty mean, but I’ve discovered that sometimes, that’s the most loving thing a person can ever tell me.
Maybe Jesus is trying to tell you that “You’re wrong” about that grudge you just won’t let go of.
Maybe you’re tip-toeing down a path of sin, shame, and personal destruction, and Jesus is just politely saying, “You’re wrong. Stop it.”
Maybe you’ve continued to wreck your life time and time again and refuse to let Christ come and be your Lord and Savior. Again, maybe He’s saying, “The way you’re living is wrong. I’ve got something so much better.”
Again, not a really nice or well-liked message. And I’m not saying that there are beliefs and convictions that you should just let go of (like my beliefs about Jesus being God, for example). But the fact is, if we ever want to go anywhere with God, at some point we’re going to need to step up to the plate and admit to God that we’ve been wrong about a few things in our lives and that we need Him to come and show us the way. God won’t gloat. He won’t hold it over our heads. Just as politely and kindly as He showed us the error of our ways, He’ll also kindly and politely show us the way we need to go as we follow Him.
“You’re wrong.” Sometimes, those are the two most loving words anyone has ever said to me.