Jesus has helped his disciples move from laying blame to discovering the meaning of God’s purposes through healing a man born blind. But the story doesn’t end there. The Jewish leaders come onto the scene with some very clear blinders in place. Rather than being able to enter the demonstration of God’s love and healing power, they have their shorts in a knot because Jesus followed through on his Father’s prompting to heal on the Sabbath.
Now the Sabbath was a big deal. Throughout the Israelite’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land there was a lot Moses tried to teach them about living in the rhythm of Sabbath grace that God was calling them to. But over the years, this rhythm of rest and grace had become just another point of control and fear. And now in Jesus’ day, these leaders, deeply committed to trying to preserve the faith of their fathers, are blinded by such fear and control.
Rather than seeing and celebrating the in-breaking of God’s presence into the life of someone on the margins, all the leaders cared about was dissecting just how and who had broken the Sabbath. They missed it! They missed God’s presence. They missed his rest. They missed his grace. They missed his restoration. The very things that the Sabbath was meant to bring as a gift to God’s people – they missed.
Laying down fear and relinquishing control is never easy. But I wonder how often we miss a revelation of God’s love and power because our fear and control get in the way? God works in surprising and unexpected ways. When we let go of fear and control, we can be open to discern what God is doing and to join him in that work – rather than blocking his presence.