I was recently surprised to learn that the fifth most counterfeited category of products in America is pharmaceuticals (a). And, in the world, Nike, in fact, is the most knocked-off brand, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (b).
The total value of imported counterfeits was estimated to be $461 billion a year (based on about half a million global custom seizures between 2010 and 2013)–representing 2.5% of global imports. For comparison, the drug trafficking trade was about $430 billion in 2013 (c).
This world is full of counterfeiters so it’s not surprising that buyers are naturally skeptical. However, if a person’s apprehension is beyond reason then they are a buyer in name, only.
Believe it or not, this conundrum takes us to the book of John, chapter nine.
If you remember, chapter eight was when an assassination attempt was made on Christ’s life. Then, at the top of chapter nine, Jesus heals a man blind since birth; oh, Jesus did this on the Sabbath.
Now, think of the Pharisees as buyers for Wal*Mart. They’re standing in a Nike warehouse, surrounded with Nike shoes, and they’re talking with Mark Parker, the current president, chairman, and CEO of Nike.
Mark says, “The shoes I hold in my hand are genuine Nike shoes”. The buyers say, “How can we be sure? We’ve been buying Adidas shoes since 1950. We know a pair of Adidas shoes when we see them but you, we don’t know you, so why should we believe you when you tell us that these shoes are actually Nike shoes?”
That’s essentially what the Pharisees did. In John 9:29, the Pharisees yell at the man Jesus healed, saying “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow (i.e. Jesus), we don’t even know where he comes from.” Wow!, now look at this verse within a broader context:
John 7:27, “But we [Jewish leaders] know where this man [Jesus] is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
John 8:14, Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.
John 9:29, We [Jewish leaders] know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow [Jesus], we don’t even know where he comes from.”
The Pharisees were either not willing or not able to recognize the genuine from counterfeits, and these were the religious leaders! So, the statement by the Pharisees in John 9:29 is like a buyer refusing to buy Nike shoes from the CEO of Nike because they aren’t sure if the shoes are genuine Nike!
This world really is full of counterfeits but Jesus is the real deal. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:12, “…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
Photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash