One of my favorite seminary professors used to caution his students this way: “Every way of seeing is also a way of not seeing.” He emphasized how our preconceived notions, learned behaviors, traditions, cultures, and religious backgrounds (among many other things) influence us. Essentially, these “lenses” through which we view all things also have the potential to be detrimental blinders. Taking stock of our blinders sometimes means having to discard long-held beliefs or ideas that just aren’t true. But in doing so, we learn to interact with God and the Bible in a more accurate way.
- Think about the ways you see life, God, and others around you. What lenses are you wearing?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 9:13-17 (ESV)
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Whom had the crowd of people brought to be interrogated by the Pharisees (vs. 13)?
- What had happened to this man, and what things had Jesus done on the Sabbath (vss. 14-15)? Why did it matter to the Pharisees that these things occurred on the Sabbath?
- Why did one group of Pharisees believe Jesus wasn’t from God the Father (vs. 16)? The second group of Pharisees made what assumption and admission concerning Jesus (vs. 16)? What were the core issues at hand for each faction?
- What was the formerly blind man’s opinion of Jesus (vs. 17)? Why would this conclusion have upset both groups of Pharisees?
- What preconceived ideas do you have about how God works or should work in your life? How do you respond to the redemptive work of God in your life and the lives of others?
RESPOND TO GOD
Did you notice what doesn’t seem in question by anyone? Jesus caused a man who had never seen before… TO SEE. And not only that, Jesus gave quite an adjustment to the Pharisaical “lenses” regarding Sabbath. On a sacred day and with a little holy mud, he demonstrated that traditions, rituals, or any other structures of “holiness” we come up with absolutely could not confine his work. God’s miracles, methodology, and redemptive kindnesses don’t have to function under our technicalities, opinions, or ideas of who he should be or what he should do. He can enter into our sin, suffering, and even into our arrogance and ignorance, however he so chooses. Simply put: he is God and we are not.
- Consider what you are seeing and not seeing. Ask God to show you whether your lenses line up with who he is and what the Bible says about him.
- Humble yourself before the God who will not be confined. Thank Jesus that his redemptive work knows no bounds in your life.