April 19

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See

John 9:11, 38 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”…. Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

John 9:39-41 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.”

John 9 has two great stories—a healing and a discussion—that need to be seen together if we are to receive the deeper meaning of each. The first is of a man who was not highly regarded (V.2 “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”). Jesus put mud in his eyes and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam; he was healed. Because it was the Sabbath, and because the leaders didn’t respect Jesus (mainly due to rumors about his birthplace and reputed illegitimacy), much wrangling ensued. The healed man’s parents were brought in for questioning, and there was a great deal of discussion about what God could or would do in terms of healing.

The healed man, in his innocence, brought forth the only light in the heated discussion: “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” The result of that insight? “They cast him out.”

Later, Jesus found him, led him to faith in Himself, and the man worshiped Him. The next verse (V. 39) has Jesus saying, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” When the Pharisees rightly asked Jesus if they were blind, He responded, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Jesus’ actions, including words and miracles, produced division (Luke 12:51). Included in that division is the issue of spiritual sight. The disrespected man knew he was blind, and was humble enough to let Jesus put mud in his eye, and faithful enough to go wash it out. He received his physical, and then spiritual, sight. The Pharisees, by contrast, got everything wrong—the true meaning of the Sabbath, where Jesus was raised, his heavenly origin, his being a sinner. That’s spiritual blindness. (There are a lot of Pharisaical “we know’s” in chapter 9 that are incorrect.) Yet in their pride, they were sure they knew and sure they saw things rightly.

When the Lord moves, He opens the spiritual eyes of the humble. Yet that same move of God can also result in an establishment of spiritual blindness for the proud. It depends on the response of the person. It’s no sin to be blind, says Jesus. But saying you see when you’re blind brings guilt and a pride that actually prevents vision. Let’s stay low and realize our continual need for Him, especially in the areas where we proudly say “We know.”

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the pride that blinds. I want to see. Convict me of sin where I am “sure” I’m right, and I’m not. Help me to be like the blind man that received everything You had to offer him.

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