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Reflecting on John 9
Causes relate to effect and effects relate to causes. So goes the logic. Yet, things that happen in human life are not always transparent to observes. More specifically, while humans can and should reason from cause to effect, people do not have the ability nor right to explain divine causes. John 9 provides a helpful context for sorting out God’s rights and human responsibilities.
Read John 9:1-7. What is the disciples view of disability? What is Jesus view?
Read John 9:8-17. How do the religious establishment know that Jesus’ healing the disability could not be God’s will? If the religious establishment were working with traditions like those which were later recorded in the Mishnah, what may they have thought Jesus violated (see Sabbath 7.2)? What do the people in the narrative think of the theory of the religious establishment? What about the man who was cured? How does the sabbath controversy of John 9 relate to the one in John 5?
Read John 9:18-34. What is the religious establishment’s view of disability (see esp. v. 34)? The religious establishment claim to be students of Moses, as part their rejection of Jesus. How does this fit with Jesus’ rebuke at the end of the controversy in John 5?
Read John 9:35-41. How does physical disability function as metaphor for responsibility and guilt?
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