Short Meditations in John 6: 42. Blindness
Jn 6:42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
We have a propensity to grab on to a piece of knowledge or piece of history and allow that to distort our thinking. Having read one famous atheist, I know that he had an experience as a child that put him off faith, off believing in God. It was an experience with one man who was a questionable Christian and that atheist has clearly allowed the bad testimony of that older man in his childhood to distort everything he thinks about God today. How tragic that our bad testimony can have this effect.
Yet we see a similar blockage in the thinking of these Jews in the crowd who have followed Jesus. The had witnessed the feeding of the five thousand and recognized that it was a miracle but still they had asked for a sign and when Jesus starts teaching about himself, now all they can do is focus on the little bit of limited knowledge that they have about him. He has said he has come down from heave but they know his parents – there are obviously people there who have come from Nazareth and know his family background – and so this is all they can focus on. They apparently know nothing of his miraculous birth, of the events with the shepherds and the wise men and the amazing dreams that had protected and guided that family. They have partial knowledge, incomplete knowledge, and they allow that to hinder belief, they allow that to blind them to the truth.
We live in an age of amazing scientific knowledge and technical advancement, and so in science we know about atoms and molecules and even quarks and dark matter, we know all the theory and we allow this limited knowledge to undermine our faith beliefs. We experience amazing technology, we programme computers with bytes and algorithms to produce artificial intelligence to empower robots, and we think we are masters of the universe as we look into deep space and postulate godless theories, failing to see the Creator who designed and brought all these things into being. We play on social media and have a sense of ‘knowing’ that comes with many ‘friends’ and we allow it to undermine our faith and we question faith and we question church and we lose perspective and thus lose a grasp on truth and reality.
At the heart of all this – in the crowd before Jesus and in so many today – is this propensity to self-centred godlessness that the Bible calls Sin, and it blinds and confuses and sows doubts. Our affluent materialistic lives see only a small part of the picture – like these Jews – and so we say silly things, ask silly questions, blind! Let’s not!