Christian History Project. This site contains the text of 12 volumes on the history of mankind over the last 2,000 years written from a 'collectively-denominational' Christian perspective.

9. About Jesus / Jesus and the Blind Man |
Madman or God?

This is a continuation of the eighth segment (Is Jesus the Devil?) of Chapter One on Jesus of Nazareth entitled Madman or God?. It is from Volume One, The Veil is Torn, of the twelve-volume historical series: The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years. This section of the chapter serves to illustrate how thoroughly Jesus understood scripture.

Jesus’ mastery of the Word makes mincemeat of establishment intellectual arguments

But he was clever, oh so clever. His knowledge of the Law was overwhelming, and he had an uncanny ability to see through it and beyond it. This made him a holy terror in debate. Again and again they would try to corner him. Always it was a disaster, because he could run circles around the best professional disputants. “Who shall be greatest in your kingdom?” they asked him. It was a trap and he knew it. If he said the best man was he who best obeyed the Law, the Pharisees would back him but the Sadducees would boil over. If he said it was the man who most faithfully fulfilled the sacrifices required by Moses, the Pharisees would run him down. If he said it was he himself, they’d all pile on him. Instead, he took up a little child and held it high above his head. Whoever receives the Word of God with the honesty, integrity and simplicity of a child, he said, will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. They were all floored, and the women swarmed around him asking him to bless their children.

Then there was the case of the tax money. Should free Jews be paying taxes to Caesar, he was asked—a point that had been debated ever since the Romans arrived. Again, he saw the trap. If he said no, he’d be called a traitor to Jewry and a coward. If he said yes, the Romans could arrest him for sedition. “Show me the tribute money,” he declared, and they passed him a coin. “Whose head’s on it?” he demanded. “Caesar’s!” they all shouted. “Then give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give God what belongs to God.” It’s an ingenious answer. For what is it that belongs to God? We do, of course. What he was pointing out is that God doesn’t want our money, our time, our thought. He wants us! Every part of us. It was a complete answer, and it left them speechless.

All this, his critics would admit, must be placed on the man’s plus side. But then there was his negative side. His followers could be accused of showing a certain contempt for respectable ecclesiastical office. They were impatient, that is, with hypocrisy hiding under the guise of established authority, and they had no use at all for those who abused such power.

A case that clearly exemplifies this had occurred right in Jerusalem. A certain man, blind from birth, who for years had begged for alms with others on the Temple steps, apparently pleaded with this Jesus for his eyesight. Now this was the Sabbath, and the proper response would have been for Jesus to attend to the man the following day. Instead, he put some mud on the man’s eyes and told him to wash it off. When the man did so, he found he could see. So, anyway, the story went. Now since this beggar was well known, and since such a work of healing would represent a clear Sabbath violation, the case very soon came to the attention of the local synagogue, whose council summoned the formerly blind man to appear.

The ensuing conduct of this man was simply outrageous. His parents were called and refused to testify on his behalf. Then, as he was questioned, he began to point out the inconsistencies in the thinking of the council itself. Did the devil cure the sick? he demanded. Had ever a man born blind been cured before? Did God answer the prayers of bad men? Why was the council so interested in Jesus? Were its members thinking of becoming his disciples themselves? That kind of thing. In they end they shunned the man, expelled him from the synagogue, which of course cut him off from the whole community. He doubtless joined with Jesus’ other followers.

To continue reading from The Christians, Their First Two Thousand Years, Volume One — The Veil is Torn, Chapter One on Jesus of Nazareth entitled Madman or God? and would like to proceed to the next section on Is Jesus God?