Monday, April 11, 2011

a puzzle - a person

Daily Lenten Devotional for SFTS
John 9:1-17

Jesus is confronted with a question of theodicy: "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" His disciples pose it to him, as an intellectual challenge. If you start from the (common) assumption that such afflictions are divine punishment, how can you locate the sin for which a newborn was punished? Talk about a theological puzzle! Does life begin in utero? Do responsibilities and sins begin there, as well? Who wouldn't enjoy a little intellectual sparring over that issue? You could show off your theological prowess and end up with the respect of all.

Jesus, however, declines the question. He refuses to treat this man as an intellectual challenge. His disciples have offered him the throne of judgment, but he steps down and kneels in the dirt instead, making mud, touching the presumed sinner, becoming a caretaker rather than a judge. He treats him as a man - not a "blind man," not a "sinner," but a child of God in whom God's glory is being revealed.

Jesus recently said, "You judge by human standards; I judge no one" (John 8:15). His refusal to judge becomes a judgment - a krisis - a distinction - between his behavior and our own judgmentalism. How often have we treated people as puzzles to be correctly or incorrectly solved? How often have we shown off our knowledge and intellect instead of stepping in as a servant?

And how often has God come down to your level, taken hold of you, and opened your eyes?

prayer: O God, it is so easy for us to live our faith at the intellectual, safe, and thus superior level, rather than living into Christ. Thank you for not staying there with us, but seeking to touch our hearts, our eyes.

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