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Seeing is not believing

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We have just had Good Shepherd Sunday, which in the three cycles of readings in the Revised Common Lectionary encompasses much of John 10, Jesus' extended and familiar discourse on the good shepherd.

It is always interesting to note what comes immediately before those passages in the Bible that we know and love so well. In this case Jesus is giving the Pharisees a sharp lesson on spiritual blindness in John 9:35-41 that they almost certainly fail to understand.

Earlier in the chapter Jesus has healed the man born blind, and the skeptical Jews have grilled the man and his parents relentlessly and cruelly about the miracle before driving him from their midst. Hearing of the debacle, Jesus finds the man, reveals himself fully to him as Lord, and blesses him with these words: "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." Some Pharisees who are still lurking nearby sense uneasily that this might apply to th…