Beyond the Weekend

May 18 | Legalism

May 18, 2017

John 9.24-34

The drama of healing the blind man revolves around Sabbath keeping. The Pharisees had reduced faith in God to a system of burdensome rules. To be accepted by God, you had to do everything in the Law meticulously right. One of their excuses for not believing Jesus is the Messiah had to do with “kneading” spit and dirt to make mud. Kneading on the Sabbath was prohibited.

Pharisaism, or legalism, is a brand of religion where you’re judged on your rule-following performance. Legalism and hypocrisy go hand in hand. We are simply unable to follow the rules all of the time. Those who reject Jesus because of hypocritical Christians need to understand that Jesus, too, rejected judgment by rule-following. He saves by grace and forgives us for messing up. Legalism is why the Pharisees won’t believe in Jesus. Grace is why the cured blind man does believe.

When pressed by the Pharisees to say Jesus is a sinner, the blind man says, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9.25). The blind man can testify Jesus is of God because he’s healed. Write out John 9.25 and memorize it as a reminder we don’t have to earn Jesus’ acceptance. We only need to believe, accept and follow (John 1.12).

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