The sun beat down another day, the hot sand was felt on the soles of his feet thru his sandals. He accompanied his mother and father to the market. Abba, going to sell the wool collected from their sheep, and mother buying her favorite spices.
Trips to the market were different for Levi, a grown man, yet solely dependent on his still living parents. He shuffled his feet while following along by holding onto his elderly mother’s shoulder for guidance.
Well known in the city, Levi was a treasure among the people, blind from birth, the community did their best to gather round the family to support them. However, hushed judgement always surrounded their situation… what did Levi’s parents do to cause his blindness? What sin was this young man carrying?
The narrative from John 9 offers an example of how Jesus let His power be known in rousing ways, which inevitably led to something as silly as mud pies, to confound the “wise”.
Jesus and the disciples come across a man that was born blind. His whole life, he couldn’t see. As it states,
“..he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.”-John 9: 1-12
It came to my attention while reading this one day, just how INSENSITIVE the disciples appear in this interaction. Rather than SHOWING the Gospel of Love, what do the disciples do? Stand around and debate about why he’s blind. Can you imagine? If I were that man, I would have felt so ashamed, sitting there needing help, while this random Rabbi’s pupils decide whether or not I am worthy of healing.
Their logic gets in the way, saying, “Maybe he sinned, no his parents are sinners”. Their unnecessary debate distracts from the ACTION OF THE GOSPEL. The disciples get lost in the irrelevant information of their own prideful, foolish conclusions.
In contrast, Jesus is all about LISTENING and DOING, while the thoughtless followers are only concerned about INTELLECTUALLY figuring something out based on doctrine, heresay and personal opinions.
I giggle when I imagine Jesus’ response, “Who cares!!!! He’s not blind because of sin! We’re here to SHOW the gospel.” And with that, Jesus picks up MUD and SPIT – to prove all the arguments of the disciples wrong.
MUD AND SPIT!!!! Not even a holy prayer was documented. Jesus used mud pies to create freedom!!
JESUS SHOWED AND PREACHED the gospel in provocative ways. It incited all logic, religion and those who based their security in either of those camps.
The truth is, some of us will NEVER fit into the rigid, religious mold that the culture of the institutional church has created. Specifically the “Law” of the evangelical church. They tried to force you into that mold, but it didn’t work, because you know what the Spirit of the living God sounds like, deep within your core and you are taking the time to listen.
I’m learning as my theology evolves and expands, that I don’t need logic to believe in miracles, nor do I care about debating the validity of ancient truths from the molds that religion has created. I know WAY too much about EXPERIENCES with Jesus and the Spirit to get caught up in the logic of men.
Just like Jesus used incitive ways to show the love of His Father – so can we, in interactions with our children, family, neighbors and in our personal walks with God. There is no mold when it comes to the love of Jesus, no box can contain it or you, my friend.
I pause again at this wildering moment in Jesus’ life and mission, to ask myself, who makes mud pies? Who typically plays in mud? Who creates things with elements of the Earth? Children! (and my artist friends, who are typically free-spirited, and child-like in their wonder) Didn’t Jesus ask us to have the faith of a child? In fact, Jesus said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Kids don’t need to rationalize with knowledge, nor does the mind of an artist! They just feel it in their knower! Here again is another provocative word and action from a Savior who meant to incite the religious law makers and traditional logic of His time. Perhaps, in this moment of mud-pie making, Jesus embraced the simple mindedness and free spirit of the gospel! In fact, the gospel of love IS quite simple, it is men who create the complications.
If we are a people who cling to the POWER and SIMPLICITY behind the mud pie, rather than the argumentative disputes of doctrine, then we will be seen as provocative and, perhaps even sound a little crazy while using untraditional and unconventional methods to SHOW God’s aggressive, radical love and truth.
I for one, would RATHER USE MUD AND SPIT over logic and doctrine, ANY DAY!!! Mud and spit speak of amazing wonders – logic and doctrinal debate speak of spiritual death.
GO BE PROVOCATIVE TODAY, and use some mud and spit!