God on Trial

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.  Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.  Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight.  “He put mud on my eyes,”  the man replied,  “and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said,  “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked,  “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?”  So they were divided.  John 9:13-16.

Oddly, this very conversation is still going on amongst believers in the Name of Jesus.  If we look at the bare essence of both arguments, we cut to the chase of the disagreement between the two major camps of doctrinal division within the Christian church.  On the one hand we have the staunch literalists who take the Scriptures verbatim, while at the same time their perspective is intractable and hardened to their own interpretations.  On the other, we see the experiential-ists (new word) pointing to miracles and the supernatural evidence calling for our loyalty.

Neither is conclusive without the other but we humans don’t know how to balance our hearts with our heads very well.

The Pharisees were in doubt about Jesus’ connection with God over the healing of a man born blind.  Their very own doctrinal statement on the subject of deformity or disability should have informed them that here was One who could correct that which was broken in mankind, but they missed.  Even those who agreed were more informed by the miracle concerning Jesus’ power than they were about His truth.  If they were really seeking truth, they would have seen in Christ’s actions that which they sought and left their own opinions behind.  Instead they fought over the details and believed themselves to be doing the work of God by this very act.

Hair splitting.

It goes on all the time, causing divisions in the church and twisting the Word of God into some kind of weapon or exclusion device.  We’ve all seen it in some form or another.  A new believer comes in and someone thinks this person isn’t growing fast enough in the right things so they begin to probe and push them in the “right” direction—or what we can call their bias of choice.  For some reason we think Jesus is only interested in our little segment of believers or preferred doctrinal studies, forgetting the lessons we should glean from Jonah’s fiasco with Nineveh and God gently rebuking Elijah when he complained he was alone in his belief and service.

Somehow Jesus divides by being in existence.  It shouldn’t surprise us, however, because He warned His disciples about this.  What were His words?  Oh yes,  “I have come to bring a sword” one which divides a family down the middle because of His name.

Here’s my conclusion:  Whatever God does about His laws and the practices surrounding them must be right.  The only way to interpret the how, what, where and when of God’s commands is to watch Jesus’ life through the gospels.  Jesus healed on the Sabbath, therefore God must approve of this kind of “work” on that day or Christ would never have done so. 

If God is on trial for doing what man doesn’t approve of and generally operating outside the artificial constructs of human doctrine, His interpretation must correct my understanding not the other way around.  The Jews were missing the point, losing freedom for the sake of chains they made themselves and generally splitting hairs over something so obvious that only hair-splitting would avoid admitting it.


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