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 perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.” John 9:16-17
As we all do, the Pharisees are trying to answer this question out of their known theological framework. They are genuinely trying to answer this question with their understanding and theological frameworks. Look at the text and you’ll see the concepts they are clinging to as they try to hash this out:
- The Sabbath is holy, and those who obey God keep it by doing no work on the Sabbath (v. 16)
- “Sinners” cannot perform miracles like restoring someone’s sight (v. 16)
- God spoke to Moses when He gave him the law, and good Jews obey the Law of Moses.
When life or God don’t seem to make sense, it’s normal for us to turn to our familiar frameworks of experience, theology, or Scripture to attempt to fit everything into the paradigm of what is known. Jesus wasn’t fitting in the Pharisees’ box, and, though some of them in verse 17 understand that their box might need to get a little bigger, they end up rejecting this expansion of their understanding of who God is for an easy answer.
Even though their conclusion is disappointing, there is something we can learn from the Pharisees in this story. When God didn’t seem to make sense, they were asking questions. When you have doubts or questions, or what God is doing just isn’t fitting into your expectations, be willing to come back to God humbly and try to see him from a new perspective.
Where is God showing up in a way you didn’t expect? What questions do you have? Feel free to ask them.
By Jessica Rust