Interrogation (John 9:8-34)
Remember the Tesla globes displayed in science centres? Electricity would light up gases in purples and pinks pressing toward the hands of participants. Or remember the Van de Graaff generator that could make the hair of volunteers stand on end? The globes remind me of how God works in the lives of people.
Jesus shows us that our life’s purpose is to display God’s handiwork. In the process, He infuses our hopes and prayers with the light of insight. He is the central electrode. We are globes, filled with His Spirit. As we come into contact with other people, something amazing happens: His energy flows through us toward them. His design is that our lives impact others.
The newly sighted man of John 9 shows us how it’s done. His sprightly pace is the first clue others notice. He strides along the path he had before known only by feel, greeting those he sees along the way. He looks up at the sky in a new way, seeing leaves on trees and birds on the wing for the first time. He simply cannot stop drinking in the beauty around him. Soon friends and family surround him, wanting to know what has changed him. It is the Sabbath, a day of rest, refreshment and celebration. What a day for healing!
Yet not everyone is happy about him. Some, soured by life’s difficulties, doubt his identity. They begin talking about him the way they used to when he was blind. Soon, they’ve attracted the attention of the Pharisees, a bitter band if ever there was one. The Pharisees cannot see the miracle for the misdemeanor: healing is work, and work is forbidden on the Sabbath. They suspect Jesus is somehow involved.
“Where is this man?” the Pharisees interrogate. “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” As the interrogation progresses, the Pharisees become increasingly frustrated. This man, who formerly had sat helpless in the dust, begging, is simply glowing. He is exuding a joy they have never known and it infuriates them. It, metaphorically speaking, makes their hair stand on end.
But something amazing is happening to the once-blind man. A second miracle is happening before their eyes. His answers to their first questions are merely factual: Who healed him? “Jesus”. How? “Mud and washing”. Although he had been a beggar, he is not blind to the growing animosity the Pharisees feel for this healer, Jesus. He well knows acknowledging Jesus as God’s Chosen One will mean cultural suicide. To be ostracized from temple life is unthinkable for a Jew. It is worse than being a blind beggar. Yet, rather than weakening him, the more they interrogate him, the stronger becomes his confidence. He begins to challenge them, “Do you want to become his disciples, too?” With the word, ‘too’, he boldly and publicly moves into the Christ-following camp. Summing up his observations, the now-sighted man delivers his closing argument in favour of his healer, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing”. As expected, the incensed religious leaders banish him from the temple. They can’t help but noticing how this man’s whole demeanor has changed since being with the enigmatic Jesus.
Sometimes our lives are like that. We pray for healing of body and mind and He loves to heal. But maybe we need eyes to see how His work in our lives is intended also to connect with others. How we become living reflections of the One whose power makes blind eyes see and timid lives bold. How we become people of influence, not for our own platform or benefit, but for God’s glory. His lifework always points back to him. So go ahead. Put your hands out toward your Maker and be amazed. His lifework will be displayed, your life will have significance, and others will see God.