Thursday, June 10, 2010

John 9 -- seeing and believing

One of the Marx brothers, famous comedians of 80 years ago, was caught in a compromising situation with a young lady. Said he to the enraged father, "Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

A Nasreddin Hoca story has a similar punch line:[1] a neighbor wanted to borrow his donkey. Hoca claimed not to have said beast. The donkey brays, the neighbor asks, "If you have no donkey, what did I just hear?" Hoca replies -- "Who are you going to believe? Me, or some stupid animal?"

In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind, to make several points. For example:
Joh 9:2 Öğrencileri İsa'ya, "Rabbî, kim günah işledi de bu adam kör doğdu? Kendisi mi, yoksa annesi babası mı?" diye sordular.
Joh 9:3 İsa şu yanıtı verdi: "Ne kendisi, ne de annesi babası günah işledi. Tanrı'nın işleri onun yaşamında görülsün diye kör doğdu.
Did the man sin in the womb? Or was it the sin of his parents that accounted for his blindness?[2]

"None of the above," Jesus replies. Not him, neither his mother / father evil did. It is not always wise to address a problem by looking for someone to blame. Many challenges in life exist to be fixed. See G K Chesterton's comic nightmare novel The Man Who Was Thursday. Or Johnny Cash's song A Boy Named Sue.

The man is healed, on the wrong day of the week. Thrown out of the fellowship of worshiping Israel. And embraced by Jesus as one of his own. Jesus then declares that the leaders of Israel had excommunicated the wrong party:
Joh 9:39 İsa, "Görmeyenler görsün, görenler kör olsun diye yargıçlık etmek üzere bu dünyaya geldim" dedi.
Joh 9:40 O'nun yanında bulunan bazı Ferisiler bu sözleri işitince, "Yoksa biz de mi körüz?" diye sordular.
Joh 9:41 İsa, "Kör olsaydınız günahınız olmazdı" dedi, "Ama şimdi, 'Görüyoruz' dediğiniz için günahınız duruyor."
"What you talkin' about?" the Pharisees demand. "You sayin' we're also blind?"

"If you were blind, you'd be innocent," Jesus replies. "But because you say, 'we see,' your sin remains."

It's the things we think we know, that ain't so, that get us in trouble!

[1] The "punch line" is the conclusion of a joke, the comic reversal or redirection that makes the story funny.

[2] Gonorrhea, a "social disease," accounts for many cases of blindness in the "third world." Parental sins affect offspring, sometimes in very tangible ways.

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