Rumbles At Tabernacles: Wide-Eyed But Squinting

think-big-start-small-byob-post1Faith can be a matter of baby steps in the actions that follow words as well as levels of understanding.  A preconception about faith is that someone who has that in their life must be taking one leap in the dark after another.  Another idea is that God is bound by our preconceptions based or it is not God.  That is often not what is demonstrated where people err in the Bible whether it is warnings to change or to not presume.

Such are some of the experiences for a man that was born blind and healed by Jesus when he was forty and his examiners of that day the Pharisees.

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” [But] others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” (John 9:13-17).

He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see-  This is a valid aspect of inquiry with faith.  He responds with an objective statement with such neutrality that there is no cause and effect in the words.  This is strictly speaking not a faith statement but one that is openness to faith.  In modern times, if I were not a Christian, I can acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth existed and the before and after details in history in context of his birth, crucifixion and resurrection as Christians describe them seem to be socially impactful.  What causes what comes with a spiritual discernment not based on only logic.

He was also told to wash in the Pool of Siloam.  This was a sign that Jesus did which is  a miracle with prophetic meaning.  John never uses the word “miracle” in his gospel but mentions seven signs.  This is multi-faceted as described in the Ignatius Study Bible.

Sent suggests that the pool is a symbol of Jesus, the source of living water (4:10) and One sent by his Father (9:4;12:44).  It’s contents are symbolic of the Spirit, who is the living water poured out by Christ (7:38-39_ and One who is sent by the Father and the Son (14:26; 15:26).  The miracle anticipates the administration of Baptism, where catechumens are washed in water, anointed (9:6) with oil, and enlightened with grace and truth (9:5); Eph 1:18; Her 6:4). (The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible).

Surely John could see much of it all for what it was when he was writing this.   But the healed man could not see much and none by the cynical examiners.

This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath-  There have been preconceptions getting in their way here.  Though this may not be a theological argument, could it be said that this is a labor of love they are against and not labor for wages? Love is a lens and if it is not used in the kingdom of God, the truth is missed.

How can a sinful man do such signs?-  The doubters speak now doubt not only on the validity of Jesus being from God but having a premise on his character in the heart.  This is another example, just in the Feast of Tabernacles alone, where the argument is personal.  The logic in learning to debate is that if one attaches ad hominem it is a sign of weakness on ones argument easily displayed for the wise to see.  What they hated were that each sign was a message of fulfilled hope outside of their control. The irony is that signs being teachings in action serve as a matter that something substantive is being communicated and they did not like it.

What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?– Eventually the question is put to us on what we will do with faith as it continues to grow.   Often the question is what we ask ourselves if the opportunity for faith to take action. For it to matter it may be especially inconvenient in light of how faith without works is dead.

He is a prophet- This is not a dense answer but it is part of the truth.  What does it mean to be a prophet?  It is to be one who speaks the disposition and/or intent of God or in simpler terms one who speaks to the truth by a source that is spiritually based.  A prophet in the Bible speaks for God.

There is a hard part to contemplating Jesus with growing certainty before or during a conversion experience.  One knows what they are giving up and not enough of what they are getting.  This healed man is about to get the heat of persecution turned up on him.  It will be rough in this new world that he can see clearly with physical eyes.  He will be tested as his faith grows because there are people of doubt that hate the truth and take it out on him.  This poor man does not have a full understanding of the truth and significance of his experience.  What he could and will soon do is hold on to what he had.  Such is the path for those who embrace a journey of faith.  It is to hold on to what you have and not overly fret about what you do not understand.  Jesus spoke and speaks truth.  That is a start when one opens them up to truth above ones self.

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