JOHN:The Gospel Of Heartfelt Belief
Seeing But Still Blind
Jerry A. Collins
A while ago, I received a new pair of contacs after my eye appointment. Of course, the contacs were a stronger prescription. One major difference was that I could no longer read without wearing reading glasses. I could not type on my computer, teach, write checks, read menus, or make phone calls without wearing those glasses. It was pathetic. Reading glasses were everywhere, including the glovecompartment, office, bathroom, study, briefcase and around my neck! A couple of weeks ago, I finally had it and called my eye doctor’s office to ask for help. I now have a normal strength lens in one eye and a reading lens in another eye. I can now see and also read. I can see again. Now, the difference between me and the ones who are blind in this story is that I did something about my blindness while they refused to do something about their’s. This story illustrates that spiritually blind people can remain blind or choose to see. The difference is in how they see Jesus!
1. IF YOU DO NOT SEE YOURSELF AS BLIND YOU CANNOT SEE
The problem these religious accusers had in our story is that they were not blind. Jesus says so in vs 41. In other words this incident reveals that they did not see themselves as blind. Sin does that to people. Lets see how sin makes people unwilling to see their spiritual need and remain truly blind.
(1) Spiritually blind people are blinded by their traditions v 13-17
This miracle was very unusual. So unusual, that people brought this once blind men to the Pharisees for a hearing. John gives us another parenthetical statement about it being the Sabbath when this man was healed to prepare us for the following confrontation vs 14. Now, their tradition keeping is going to get in the way of them seeing what they need to see and instead keep them blind. After questioning how this man received his sight, he reiterates the healing without referencing Jesus by name vs 15. Some, though make the connection between the miracle and Jesus and claim that one from God would not violate their traditions about Sabbath keeping. Others were not so sure and in the end they cannot even agree amongst themselves vs 16. The point being that religious tradition keeping is no guarantee that you even know the Lord. Religious tradition keeping makes you look religious but has nothing to do with helping you know God. It actually blinds you to your spiritual need because you tend to define God by them rather than as He has revealed Himself to be in the Bible. For instance, I may give a tithe, which is 10% of my money, to the Lord as part of my religious tradition keeping. Actually, if tithing was still commanded I would actually be giving 221/3% of my money. But the NT method of giving is storehouse giving having no prescribe percentage other than giving as the Lord prospers you to give. Tithing, then, actually makes me look religious while it promotes the attitude that the other 90% is mine to do with as I wish while it also keeps me from knowing God by my obedience to NT giving.
(2) Spiritually blind people are blinded by rejecting testimony about God vss 18-25
Since the blind mans testimony is unacceptable, maybe his parents can shed some light on this matter. The parents confirm the fact that this man is their son and that he had been born blind. If the Pharisees wanted to know more. let them ask their son, who is of age to speak for himself. John gives us another parenthetical statement that explains his parents hesitancy to say more in v 22-23, namely, the threat of excommunication from the synagogue. Today, spiritually blind people reject the testimony of scripture that reveals God to us. Even though the Bible is the most popular book in America it is not the most believed book. There is absolutely no other way to know God, than to read about Him in the pages of this book or to become a student of God other than through studying the pages of this book. Nature may reveal to us that God but only this revelation can tell us who He is. Otherwise, we are left to guessing about the kind of God that could put this all together. They rejected the testimony about Jesus and it revealed their spiritual blindness.
(3) Spiritually blind people are blinded by their rejection of Christ v 24-29
This second time they place this once blind man under oath to tell the truth vs 24. They just cannot believe he has been telling the truth. Once again he testifies to a miraculous healing vs 25. These accusers are ignorant about Christ on two counts. (A) They claim Jesus is a sinner vs 24. They make this claim because Jesus broke their Sabbath law keeping traditions. Of course, Jesus is not a sinner but the Savior. Their blindness is very blind. (B) They refuse to accept Jesus claim as being from the Father vs 29. It is not because Jesus has not made this clear. So far Jesus has made this claim nearly 20 times and the proof of His identity has been the miracles like this one He has performed. People choose to believe lies about Jesus rather than the truth. JW’s teach Jesus was created, Islam that Jesus was a great prophet, others ridicule Him by cursing with His name. Spiritually blind people can even reject those who do not reject Christ vs 34. People who reject Christ contribute to their own blindness and are guilty before God vs 41. A spiritually blind persons death should never be an occasion for rejoicing. For the first time, they really see but the seeing condemns them Luke 16.
2. ONCE YOU KNOW YOUR BLIND, THEN YOU CAN SEE
Look at the sight this once blind man gains. First, Jesus is a miracle worker vs 15. Then, his opinion was that Jesus is a prophet vs 17 since this miracle marked him in a special way. He also took an oath that Jesus did heal him vs 25. He concludes that this One must be from God otherwise he could do not miracles vs 33. He is not blinded by tradition, can see that God is doing something new; he is not rejecting testimony about God but claims God is at work and he does not reject Christ. This man is beginning to see and Jesus shows up to make sure he does. This man believes and is saved. Once blind, now he sees! He does not need the synagogue to worship only spiritual sight he receives from Jesus vs 38. Those who are spiritually blind are given sight; those who are claiming to see are blinded further.