“Why was this man born blind?” the disciples wondered. Was it because he sinned or because his parents sinned? “Neither,” responded Jesus, “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The man didn’t know that he was about to become the object of a miracle. His purpose now was to display the greatness of God. People knew he was blind from birth; they also knew that one blind from birth doesn’t just start seeing. Jesus spat on the ground, made clay and applied it to the eyes of the blind man. He then instructed the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:1-7). Oh, is that all?
This event is told in such simple terms — no fluff or pomp added. That in itself is amazing. Doesn’t that suggest that God wants us to be struck by the simple truth? Truth needs no embellishments. It is what it is. The facts themselves are awesome.
Now that’s not the end of the story. People were amazed at what happened. How does a blind man suddenly see? They took him to the Pharisees, who cross-examined him in no kind way; and the man held up quite well. Why? Because he caught vision — not just the ability to physically see, but a vision of who Jesus was: “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:32-33). The man hit it right on the nose. Not only could he now see, he could now see.
Then there were the Pharisees, demonstrating once again their self-righteous inability to see what was most important. What was their first impression of the One who made the blind man see? “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath” (9:16). So much for Jesus — how dare He heal a man on the Sabbath! Some were a little more honest: “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” They basically dismissed the evidence because of their own bias. How did they respond to the man’s point about Jesus being from God? “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out. How’s that for honesty? They could see, but they couldn’t see.
After the man was put out, Jesus found him again and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man responded, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said, “You have both seen Him, and He is the One who is talking with you.” The man said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.
The point of this miracle should be clear: Jesus can open our eyes! His power to open the eyes of the physically blind demonstrated His power to open the eyes of the spiritually blind. But we must be willing. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some Pharisees asked, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” What does that mean?
Men are responsible for what they are able to receive and do. But if pride keeps one from receiving truth, he will be condemned. They thought they knew the law concerning the Sabbath better than Jesus, and they condemned Him for healing on that day: “We see.” Therefore, their pride and self-confidence left them condemned. As long as people are proud, self-sufficient, and confident in their own wisdom, they cannot receive forgiveness of sins from God: “your sin remains.” On the other hand, if people recognize their complete dependence upon God and His ways, coming to Him with humble hearts, confessing their ignorance and their sins, God will forgive.
This is where our vision begins. We are blind. We dare not trust our own wisdom and ways. We must see the vision of Jesus, the Great Redeemer and Savior, then respond in faith: “Lord, I believe.” We must worship and praise Him. As we humble ourselves before God, we will begin to see the light of the gospel shining on the path to heaven. But if we think, “we see,” that we have it all figured out by ourselves, the path will remain in darkness. It all starts with an attitude of humility toward God. Let us pray that Isaiah’s prophecy of spiritual blindness be not fulfilled in us (Matt. 13:14-15). Instead, may the Lord say about us, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear” (vs. 16). What have you seen lately?