One Thing I Do Know
There is this great moment in the Gospel of John where Jesus restores the sight of a man who had been blind his whole life. He heals the man on the Sabbath, and he does so in a strange way that has always puzzled me.
The blind man's healing begins with a conversation among the disciples who ask Jesus, "Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind--his own or his parents' sin?"
The hidden argument behind this question was rooted in strict interpretations of the Law of Moses, which lifted up the notion that children were punished by God because of the sins of their parents and grandparents.
Jesus quickly debunks the legalistic approach to faith that the disciples were wrestling with, and declares that the man was born blind "so that God's power could be shown in him."
He then spits on the ground, makes some mud, smears it on the guy's eyes and tells him to go to a public pool and wash it off. The guy goes and does what Jesus told him to do, and "came back seeing."
When the religious leaders, who were threatened by Jesus, are confronted with this miracle, they seemingly care less that a man who had been blind his whole life can now see clearly. Instead, they focus on how Jesus healed the man--by spitting and making mud, which violated their legalistic understanding of not working on the Sabbath.
The man born blind replies to their accusations about Jesus by saying, "I don't now if [Jesus] is a sinner. One thing I do know, I was blind, and now I see."
I was struck by this reading today, and I wondered how often I find myself sitting in the shoes of the Pharisees and religious elites when I am forced to confront God's often unconventional methods of redemption.
I've learned that God often chooses to reach unlikely people in ways that don't fit my neat little theological categories, and God does this in order for God to get the glory, which is kind of the whole point.
We need to internalize this message--especially during this blessed season when we reflect on God's unusual and unconventional method for saving the world. The Savior was born to homeless refugees: a teenage girl, a conflicted new husband, a stable, bedraggled, sheep-smelling witnesses...
Those aren't neat categories by any stretch of the imagination.
May you open yourself up to the infinite variety of ways that God's grace is revealed to the most unlikely people through Jesus. May you find yourself among the unlikely and rejoice. May you continue to be surprised by the unexpectedness of God during this blessed season of Advent.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.