Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel



Who’s the Man?

Lent 2018

“Post hoc ergo propter hoc.” That’s the Latin name for an informal fallacy—a weak form of human reasoning. It literally means “after this because of this.” This weak form of human reasoning deals with a cause and effect relationship based upon observation. But, there is the danger that it can reveal a non sequitur—an “it does not follow” conclusion. Correlation does not always equate with causation.

In John 9, the disciples seem to imply there is a causal connection between a blind man’s behavior and his blindness. That’s why they asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus quickly dismisses this potential non-sequitur. Jesus seems more concerned with healing that would ultimately point to the glory of God than he was with assigning blame. After all, love bears all things—even blindness.

A potential problem is the inclination to focus on the sin instead of the Savior. That is what the disciples did. But let’s be honest. We often do the same thing—especially with respect to others. That is not a love which bears all things. Maybe we should be more concerned with our own blindness, our own spiritual blindness, rather than focusing on that of others. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

When it comes to spiritual blindness, when it comes to sin, who’s the man (in the gender inclusive sense)? You are. I am. When it comes to healing, when it comes to saving, who’s the Man? Jesus is. When it comes to seeing God’s love and through that love bearing the burdens of others, who’s the man? You and I are. We were blind but now we see.

Rev. Bob Rossow ‘80
Minister of Prayer & Care, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Orange, CA

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