Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. John 9:35-41
He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10
Because I have some pretty poor eyesight, I have a pretty thick prescription—not quite coke bottles, but close. If I take off my glasses for any reason, the running joke is that I am as blind as a bat. I can’t see anything more than blobs of bleary colors. Yet, once I put my glasses on, everything comes into view! I can once again see the details of faces, read words, and distinguish colors, shapes, and pictures.
I wonder if Jesus longed to give the Pharisees spiritual glasses. How sad He must have been to see them majoring on minors, asking wrong questions, and settling for less. I wonder if He is just as sad when we do the same.
This whole narrative is centered around a man born into blindness. He was never able to see a sunrise, the faces of friends and family, a rainbow of colors, or even just be able to read words. Yet, in a moment Jesus healed Him, completely restoring his sight and allowing him to experience what he had never experienced before—connection to the world around him and those he held dear. Can you imagine what that must have been like?
This healing is cause for great celebration, but the Pharisees can only find fault. They wonder who is this Jesus man who heals, under what authority is He healing, and how it is that this bilind man came to be healed on the Sabbath. In doing so, they miss the point—a man was restored and God was glorified!
Jesus mourns their spiritual blindness. These individuals who spent so much time studying the law of God couldn’t seem to see the forest for the trees. These ones who so self-righteously proclaimed their togetherness, couldn’t seem to put 2 and 2 together.
However, this man who is blind from birth, not only receives his physical sight, but also gains great spiritual sight. He doesn’t so much care who or how this miracle was done, but he knows that he is healed in sight, in purpose, in status, and in spirit. He knows that this man, this beautiful Jesus, gave him sight, and furthermore he believes he is from God. How like God’s upside-down Kingdom!
Today, take a moment to listen to your favorite version of “Amazing Grace” and journal the ways God has taken you from lost-ness and blindness in your own journey.
By Sheila Rennau