In the first part of this article, we saw that a man who had been miraculously healed by Jesus was getting grilled by others, but their questions weren’t really getting to the heart of the matter. This man (who had been healed) had seen – literally – what Jesus was able to do, and summed up the conclusions pretty well:
The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
John 9:30-33 NASB
The point of Jesus’ healing – the conclusion that was clear to this man who had been healed – was that the miracle demonstrated that Jesus was from God. Since Jesus was commended by God (see also Matthew 3:16-17 and Matthew 17:5), it stands to reason that His first-century audience should pay attention to Him and what He was teaching. And, since Jesus’ instructed His followers to pass this message along, we who hear that message today should listen to it for the same reason.
There is so much debate in our world today about things of secondary importance. While I believe that it is honorable to dig into the details of God’s word (through study of the Bible), as well as to learn about His creation (science, and related disciplines), many points are just not that important for us to argue about, if we have already made up our mind on our personal answer to the most important question: Will we follow Jesus, or not?
- When we argue about which church or denomination is most faithful to Jesus’ teachings, but don’t actually study His Word and follow it, we are failing to live up to His commands.
- When we engage in endless political debate, but never actually reach out to help those in need, or to love those who are hurting, we haven’t done much good in Jesus’ name.
- When we lecture others endlessly on their sins, but don’t reflect a life of righteousness ourselves, we inspire others to ignore our words.
- When we get caught up in apologetics (not that I’m opposed to learning and explaining the facts behind my faith; in fact, I enjoy it), but don’t invite others – and ourselves – to act upon the truths that we have found, the arguments aren’t brought to a useful conclusion.
- When we argue online about what Jesus would have done in a specific, obscure situation, but don’t follow His instructions on things that He was very clear about, we’re wasting our time, as well as our mental and digital bandwidth.
- Or, in another example, as a friend of mine said on the topic of debates about different Bible translations, “If you don’t read it, it doesn’t matter.”
So, if you have been dancing around the issue of Jesus and His invitation to save you and lead you into an abundant life, I hope that you will make the choice to follow Him. Endless debate about specific details of Jesus’ life, or focusing on His fallible followers (rather than His perfect life), is just a smokescreen to deflect the fact that we must choose: either we are on Jesus’ side and choose His path, or we are not (and, “not choosing” is really choosing to not listen to Jesus and act upon what He taught).
Consider this: If you’re allied with Jesus, it’s probably not a big deal if another one of His followers sees something a little differently than you, especially where the Bible doesn’t speak clearly about a particular topic. On the other hand, if you’re opposed to Jesus, it really doesn’t matter whether a Christian has a different viewpoint from you about the basis of moral behavior, because you’ve already made up your mind to follow another path.
For those who choose to follow Jesus, we can continue to learn more about the deeper principles in His teachings, and work to figure out (with the Holy Spirit’s help) how to best live them out. But, if any of us let those other questions define and distract us, to the point that we get caught up in debate rather than decisions (i.e., in arguments, rather than actions), we will miss out on the most important news of all.