Jesus Speaks Sharp Words About Spiritual Blindness
When you drive, you encounter “blind spots”—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat!
As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
Jesus heard that the proud religious law-keepers had put the man who had been healed out of the place of worship.
John 9:35a (NLV)
Jesus knows what’s happening to us. The Good Shepherd always cares for His sheep. When we suffer persecution for His sake, He takes it personally, just as with Saul (Acts 9:4). Jesus heard that this man had been kicked out of church, so He sought him out. What a wonderful thing!
Many people would love to have Jesus come to them, but they aren’t willing to pay the cost. How much better is it to be sought out by Jesus than to stay in the church with the hypocrites? This man made the right choice.
He found the man and said to him, “Do you put your trust in the Son of God?”
He said, “Who is He, Sir? Tell me so that I can put my trust in Him.”
Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him. He is talking with you.” He said, “I do put my trust in You, Lord.” Then he bowed down before Jesus and worshiped Him.
John 9:35b-38 (NLV)
This man believed in Jesus, as evidenced by his replies to the Pharisees; he just didn’t fully understand who Jesus was. When he found out that Jesus was the Son of God, he accepted it fully. None of us have a full revelation of who Jesus is when we first encounter Him. We have to grow in that knowledge. As revelation comes, we accept it and grow in our faith. But we begin with just the simple faith that Jesus is the one who set us free.
Remember that this man had never seen Jesus. His eyes weren’t opened until he went to the pool of Siloam and washed (John 9:7). But I’m sure he recognized that voice. He would never forget it as long as he lived.
Jesus said, “I came into this world to say what is right from wrong. I came so those who do not see might see, and those who do see might be made blind.”
John 9:39 (NLV)
To those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, God gives spiritual sight. To those who disbelieve because they think it will better suit their purposes; God takes away the spiritual sight that they had.
Wherever Jesus went, some of the Pharisees tried to be present so they could catch Him in something He said or did. Seeing them, Jesus closed this episode by preaching a brief but penetrating sermon on spiritual blindness.
The religious leaders were blind and would not admit it; therefore, the light of truth only made them blinder. The blind man admitted his need, and he received both physical and spiritual sight. No one is so blind as he who will not see, the one who thinks he has “all truth” and there is nothing more for him to learn (John 9:28, 34).
Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
John 9:40 (NLT)
The listening Pharisees heard what Jesus said and it disturbed them. “Are you saying we’re blind?” they asked, expecting a negative answer. Jesus had already called them “blind leaders of the blind” (Matt. 15:14), so they had their answer. They were blinded by their pride, their self-righteousness, their tradition, and their false interpretation of the Word of God.
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But because you say, ‘We see,’ you still are guilty of your sin.
John 9:41 (NLV)
Our Lord’s reply was a paradox. “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But because you say, ‘We see,’ you still are guilty of your sin.” Blindness would at least be an excuse for not knowing what was going on. But they did know what was going on. Jesus had performed many miracles and the religious leaders ignored the evidence to make a right decision.
Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). The only people who cannot see the light are blind people and those who refuse to look, those who make themselves blind. The blind man was physically blind and spiritually blind, yet both his eyes and his heart were opened.
Because he listened to the Word, believed it, obeyed, and experienced the grace of God. The Pharisees had good physical vision, but they were blind spiritually. Had they listened to the Word and sincerely considered the evidence, they too would have believed on Jesus Christ and been born again.
In what sense did the Pharisees “see”?
They saw the change in the blind man and could not deny that he had been healed. They saw the mighty works that Jesus performed. Even Nicodemus, one of them, was impressed with the Lord’s miracles (John 3:2). If they had examined the evidence with honesty, they would have seen the truth clearly. “If anyone is willing to act according to His purposes and is open to hearing truth, he will know the source of My teaching. Does it come from God or from Me?” (John 7:17). “But you do not want to come to Me so you might have life.” (John 5:40).