How to Make Sense of a Situation That Does Not Make Sense

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September 26, 2020

John 9:16-23

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.”

They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

CONSIDER THIS

When you are out to get someone, you are going to find a way to get them. Throughout John’s Gospel, there were multiple situations where we were told that the Pharisees and religious leadership were looking for a way to kill Jesus. They picked up stones on one occasion. They constantly sought to catch him in some kind of policy loophole. In today’s text, in response to the sensational healing of the man born blind, they alleged he was a Sabbath-breaker.

Was this really all about the Law? It seems a bit much. In situations like these, where things are hard to understand, there is a simple rule to apply. Look around and see who is benefiting most from the status quo, or the way things are. Another way of asking the same question: If things dramatically changed, who stands to lose the most?

This holds true in every organization, from local churches to multinational corporations. The reason things remain the way they are and always have been is because someone or some group is benefiting from them remaining that way. The other interesting question to ponder is this one: Who stands to benefit the most from change?

So how do you assess that in the present situation? How do you assess it in the organizations of which you are a part?

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who brings to the world the great reversal of love, where the proud are brought down and the humble are lifted up. Open our eyes to corrupt systems of power, especially the ones that bring us gain, and give us the courage to stand up for what is right, even if it is against our self-interest. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Analyze the situation from today’s text. Who does the status quo benefit? Who loses? What do the losers stand to gain if things change?

2. How does the present state of affairs in your own church benefit you? What most needs to change? What would you lose as a consequence of change? Who loses as a result? What would change mean for the losers?

3. With these Pharisees, is it really so much about policy or is it about power?

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For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

1 COMMENT

  1. Answer 1: In my opinion the religious leaders benefit the most from the status quo by allowing them to remain the gate keepers to the kingdom of God. If things change, Jesus becomes the new way to gain entry into the KOG.
    Answer 2: As an outsider (non member) I am free to be critical of the denomination without having to take personal responsibility for the current state of affairs. What needs most to change is the acceptance of the proposed protocol and the opportunity for a fresh start with a new identity. As a member, I would have to become fully invested in the work of renewal and outreach. From my perspective, there would not be that many losers in this particular congregation. The few who might be of a more liberal persuasion, and there are some, might feel less free to openly express their opinions.
    Answer 3: I believe that the Pharisees could clearly see the handwriting on the wall. They were the true institutionalists of their day. For them it was all about institutional survival. In my honest opinion, nothing much has changed between then and now.

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