Grab your Bibles, and turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 9.
Jesus is in Jerusalem, and He engages a blind man who has been born blind and who has been reduced to being a beggar on the street. Jesus heals the man and gives him sight in an unprecedented miracle. So, the man can see for the first time in his life. What a moment. What a miracle.
Have you seen the videos that are out there where someone is given hearing aids that allow them to hear for the first time or a surgery or glasses that allows them to see for the first time? It’s overwhelming. It’s tearful. It’s powerful and beautiful. To witness someone see or hear life and loved ones for the first time ever … Imagine that. You don’t know what their voices sounds like or what they actually look like, and you see someone’s face connected to his or her voice. This is a truly amazing miracle that utterly changed this man’s life like nothing else ever did.
Now, John’s testimony reveals that the man’s neighbors are trying to figure out how this happened--how this man they know who is blind can now see. So, he goes through an interrogation with his neighbors, and then he is brought to the Pharisees, who are supposed to render help and lead and direct him; however, they don’t care about him. They are only concerned with what he claims Jesus did, because they believe that Jesus is a demon-possessed counterfeit.
So, the Pharisees reject the testimony of the man, they reject the testimony of the neighbors, and they go looking to his parents. The parents are so afraid of looking like they favor Jesus that they turn their back on the healed man. Then the Pharisees end up throwing the man who can now see out of the building. By doing so, they are really throwing him out of the life of the nation--out of the life of Israel.
This man has already been an outcast his entire life, because anybody who was born blind was believed to have been cursed by God for sin. His own family hasn’t taken him in, as we see him begging in the streets. He is finally able to do life, work a job, interact with people, and have new kinds of relationships, yet all he receives is harassment, skepticism, and rejection. His neighbors, his parents, and his spiritual leaders all reject him. In his highest moment in life, there is no celebration, no reception … just rejection.
What a metaphor of this world. Our world is masterful at using us for selfish gain. And when those in the world get what, they want they toss us aside. Also, it’s great imagery that you can get all you ever dreamed of in this life and still be so far from satisfied. This world is fleeting. The highest highs and the greatest prizes are fleeting--momentary. Literally. Your dream car wears out. Your big pay check is spent. Your favorite meal is consumed. Your vacation is over. Your most loved ones pass away. Your favorite team’s winning run eventually ends. Your good looks fade. It is all fleeting.
Here is the good news. Chapter 9 doesn’t end here. It doesn’t end with ridicule and rejection and estrangement. No--light and hope break into the scene. Jesus enters the scene, and in verse 35 we read this:
John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him …
First, notice that Jesus pursued the man. He heard the Pharasee’s cast him out, and Jesus knew it was time to find him. Jesus’ desire to find this man wasn’t because He heard they cast him out. Christ’s desire to find and save the man was an eternal, predestined desire. It was just finally time to do it. Brothers and sisters, don’t ever stop praying for and witnessing to your lost loved ones, neighbors, and enemies. Why? Because you don’t know if and/or when God has determined to set them free. Sometimes He has planned for us to hit the bottom of our sin and lostness before He shines the light of life into our lives!
Jesus sought him out. Do you really understand the weight of this proclamation? When you and I were lost in our fleeting pursuit of the world’s treasures and joys instead of His deserving glory, Jesus sought us out. He put on flesh, He came down to our level, He did what we couldn’t do and wouldn’t do, and He paid for our freedom. He paid for it with His own blood.
This is the good news of gracious acceptance. This man had done nothing to earn Jesus’ favor--His pursuit. Jesus is the initiator. He is the spouse who is faithful to His bride when she wants nothing to do with Him. He comes, He finds us, and He gives us saving faith. This is what happens next:
John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
Do you believe in the Son of Man? This is a known title for the Redeemer, the Messiah, the promised One. In asking him this, Jesus is cutting into the man’s worldview with the greatest point of emphasis He could give him. He didn’t say, “Do you want me to show you how to make the most of your new sight? I see you are a rejected outcast. Do you want me to train you how to have lots of friends and how to be successful at life?” No. Why didn’t He? Because all of that leads to damnation and eternal suffering if not saved and set free by Jesus. This is why Jesus asking about the man’s believing in the Son of Man is the greatest question He could ask.
If you are reading this today hoping for the remedy to an issue in your life, the answer is Jesus! It’s not a practice, a relationship, a drug, a job, a pay raise, a new whatever. It is Jesus!
See what Jesus is doing here: He’s going in for the kill. He is going in for the one thing that will save this man. That he dies.
Dies to himself and believes his life into Jesus’ hands.
John 9:36 He [the man] answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
What made him want to trust Jesus? What made him so hungry to know the One Jesus was speaking of? Gut? A hunch? He got a good feeling from Jesus? A good vibe?
Really, I am truly asking this. What made him say to essentially a stranger, “Who is he, sir, so that I can believe in him?” Regeneration! God is literally doing heart surgery on this man. The heart of stone is being removed, and the heart of flesh is being given. Even better, his spiritual blindness is being removed, and he is being given eyes to see. Look:
John 9:37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”
Jesus is saying, “With the eyes you now have, you are looking at the Son of Man--the promised One.” The greatest gift you could be given is not that you see with your physical eyes; it is that you now see with spiritual eyes! And what evidence do we have of this conversion? Of this new birth?
John 9:38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
He didn’t call Jesus “sir,” like he did just moments before when he didn’t know who Christ was. Now he knows! He calls Jesus “Lord.” Jesus is his LORD! He professes his belief. And that belief, that knowing Jesus as God the Son as Master, causes him to worship Christ.
You don’t have a two-sentence conversation with a stranger and then call Him “Lord” and worship Him as God! The man knows Him. He doesn’t just know about Jesus; he now knows Him! Jesus is his Lord!
He worshiped Jesus! Do you remember John 4:20-24? “The Father seeks true worshipers who worship Him in spirit and truth.” How do you know when someone is a believer? Because he becomes a true worshiper of Jesus. Believers give up their lives for the sake of the Lord their God. They bow down, no longer to idols or to try to rule on the throne themselves. They bow down to God as Lord of their lives and worship Him with all they are.
Now, notice this: In a crowd of unbelief, the outcast is brought in. Not just to a temporary group of friends of family, but into the courts of God almighty--into the eternal family of God!!!! DON’T MISS THIS! The miracle of this man’s life is not sight after a lifetime of blindness; it is salvation after a lifetime of sin, and the reversal of an eternity of damnation unto an eternity of joy in the presence of God Himself.
Don’t settle for temporary joys. Enjoy them. Praise God for them, but don’t settle for them. Don’t long for them. What if Jesus never sought this man out? What would he have gained? Sight for living, no more begging, the ability to work and thrive in this life? Yes, but for what? For fleeting joys, and then an eternity in hell.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36
CS Lewis said, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Jesus gave the man the greatest gift he could ever receive--the greatest miracle of this life! Saving Faith! Regeneration. Belief in Jesus as the Son of God.
John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”
This is the climactic statement of Jesus in the wake of this man’s conversion. Why? Because we have seen belief and unbelief in this one situation and interaction since being introduced to this blind man in John 9:1. While Jesus did not come to judge, His presence brings judgment. The light of the world has a double effect. It illuminates some unto life, and it brings condemnation and exposure to those who remain in the darkness. It convicts and brings judgment to the guilty, and it converts and brings life to the elect. IT’S ONE OR THE OTHER. We see the same thing at the cross of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Jesus says here, “… that those who do not see may see [sight is given to the spiritually blind--this is regeneration, salvation]
and those who see may become blind [those who think they have all the needed capacities to thrive in life are in the end spiritually blind, and therefore lacking the most important capacity of all.]”
Now, the Pharisees must have been close enough to hear this conversation between the man and Jesus.
Listen to what they ask:
John 9:40-41 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.”
They just saw this man that they rejected and cast out receive Jesus as Lord and worship Him. Then they heard Jesus say clearly that He has come to judge and that those who see become blind. So they are thinking, “We see. Does that mean we are now blind?” What is this in reference to? Jesus will explain later in John’s Gospel, chapter 15, but let me show it to you now:
John 15:22-25 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: They hated me without a cause.’”
Pastor John MacArthur recounted the teachings of the Scriptures well on this topic saying, “Throughout the whole Bible, blindness is used metaphorically to represent the human condition of corruption and fallen-ness, and the inability to comprehend God and divine truth.”
In Isaiah 43:8, we read of the people who are blind even though they have eyes.
In Jeremiah 5:21, we read of the people who are foolish and senseless; they have eyes but do not see.
In Isaiah 56:10, the corrupt leaders of Israel are described as watchmen who are blind, all of whom see nothing.
Jesus called the Pharisees blind men, and then He called them blind guides.
All sinners, says the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4, are darkened in their understanding.
In John 3, our Lord said that sinners love the darkness rather than the light, because they cherish their evil deeds.
Revelation 3:17 defines the world of sinners as wretched, naked, miserable, poor, and blind.
So, the Bible speaks of blindness as a metaphor for spiritual ignorance, spiritual darkness, spiritual corruption, and the inability to know God or to know the truth. That natural blindness, because of sin, is compounded by Satan’s power and deception, which makes a kind of double-blindness, spoken of in 2 Corinthians 4:4: “… the god of this world, Satan, has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Naturally blinded and satanically blinded.
There is also reference in the Scriptures to God’s divine hand in the blindness of the reprobate. Isaiah said in Isaiah 44:18, “They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.”
In John 12:39-40, we will read that those who persist in unbelief cannot believe because, as Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes, hardened their hearts, that they would not see, perceive, and be converted.”
Paul wrote of this judgment in Romans 11:8: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.”
This is hard reality.
-Natural blindness is damning.
-Compounded satanic blindness is even more damning.
-Terminal blindness is a judgment of the sovereign God and is the removal of all hope.
According to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, sinners walk in the ways of darkness.
According to Isaiah 5:20, they substitute light for darkness and darkness for light.
According to Ephesians 5:11, the whole world is full of people who participate in the unfruitful works of darkness because, as Colossians 1:13 says, they are part of the domain of darkness. Blindness and darkness are metaphors for the condition of sinners.
This is a sobering clarity. Those who were the ones rejecting--rejecting the man, rejecting Jesus, rejecting the miracle--are now rejected. They are guilty. They will be cast out.
Spiritual blindness, then, receives judgment! It refuses to admit its blindness; it rejects truth. And it results in doom. Look at the end of verse 41: “Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, “We see,” your guilt remains.’”
He is saying, “You are blind in the sense that you don’t see your own sin. You are not blind in the sense that you have been exposed to the truth. You have the law, the prophets, the covenants--everything. You have the promises, the Old Testament. You’ve had Me. You’ve heard My words. You’ve seen the miracles. So, you have no excuse.”
Yes, you are blind to your own sin; but no, you are not blind to the truth. Therefore, you are judged. You are doomed. You are hopeless. Your guilty position remains.
If you are still with me, hear this: Religion is not enough. Knowing truth is not enough. It must turn into love for the Lord. Temporary victories are not enough. The world’s treasure and pleasures are not enough.
Only Jesus can fulfill us. Worship for Him. Surrender to Him. Hail Him as KING!
Serve Him with all of your life! Or you remain in judgment and condemnation.