“If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” (John 9:33-41).
It has been quite a journey for a man who was born blind and now is able to see. The Apostle John records in John 9 a passage which began with a question about the relationship between suffering and sin, Jesus healing of the man resulting in the man testifying of the miracle and eventually defending Jesus as the One, True Messiah before the religious hypocrites of the day.
One thing remains: and this is for the man who now can see to meet the One who not only gave him physical sight but who alone provides spiritual sight to those blinded by their sin.
Following his defense of Jesus, the Pharisees condemn the man and cast him out of the synagogue. They socially and religiously purge themselves of this one who has so boldly spoke in defense of Jesus Christ. One commentator explains that, “despite the proper Jewish argument he gave in 9:31–33, the authorities expel this man on the premise that he was born in sin—which the reader knows to be false (9:2–3). How formal excommunications were in this period is unclear, but he is certainly expelled from participating in the local center of religious life.”
However, the man will come to worship the One, True God in spirit and in truth. Jesus, after hearing that the Pharisees had excommunicated him, seeks out the man born blind and upon finding him asks “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” This Messianic title was Jesus’ most frequent self-designation and refers us to Daniel 7.
The man responds, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” The man is not simply stating about acknowledging the existence of the Son of Man, but rather wants to commit, depend, trust and worship. Jesus says, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.” The man’s healing is now complete. He can see both physically and spiritually. He is a man who can see both with his eyes and with his soul. The blindness which dominated his life has vanished.
However, contrast this with the blindness which conspicuously remains in the Pharisees. The irony is that those who profess to see most clearly are those who are blind most severely and completely.
The text concludes, “Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
Dr. John MacArthur states, “Not that his (Jesus’) purpose was to condemn, but rather to save (12:47; Luke 19:10); saving some, nevertheless, involves condemning others (see notes on John 3:16, 18). The last part of this verse is taken from Isaiah 6:10; 42:19 (cf. Mark 4:12).Those who do not see refers to those who know they are in spiritual darkness while the statement “those who see” ironically refers to those who think they are in the light, but are not (cf. Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31).”
Pastor Burk Parsons explains, “We see, then, an ironic contrast between two groups of people. Some people are born blind and know they are blind. Jesus is quite willing to open the eyes of these individuals, not merely physically, but spiritually, so that they may see and believe. The man born blind represents these individuals. Others, however, think that they can see, not only physically but spiritually. The Pharisees, who are actually blind to the things of God, represent this second group. Jesus came into the world for judgment, to give sight to the blind and to show how blind are those who trust in themselves spiritually. This is not at odds with His purpose to bring salvation (3:17) but is its secondary and necessary result. Condemnation attends salvation—those who reject the dazzling light of Jesus as He is offered in the gospel are blinded to the things of God by His glory. John Calvin comments, “Since Christ is, by his own nature, the light of the world (John 8:12), it is an accidental result, that some are made blind by his coming.”
There is an old English proverb attributed in 1546 to a John Heywood which says, “There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See.” It resembles Jeremiah 5:21 which says, “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.” The full content of Heywood’s quotation is “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know”.
May we live today in the light of the glorious truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we live and speak as people who once were blind, but now can see.
Soli deo Gloria!