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November 10, 2017: Blind Seeing; Seeing Blind

Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 27-28Job 9:21-35John 9:26-411 John 2:12-17

John 9:26-41:

Tragedy and glory, sadness and empathy, passion and compassion—all bleed together into this closing section of this most extraordinary story of the man being born blind healed by Jesus. The disciples had asked whether the blind man or his parents had sinned (9:2). Jesus replied that neither, but rather that the works of God might be displayed in him (9:3). But now contrast the Pharisees! While Jesus has healed the blind man, the Pharisees are condemning the blind man for having been healed!

They ask him again to tell them how he was healed (9:26). The blind man rightly replies that they have already heard the answer—and then with a touch of exasperation, if not cheek, inquires whether they too want to become Jesus’ disciples (9:27). This is too much for the Pharisees, and the veil covering their wrath and displeasure falls to the ground to reveal the inner disharmony and disease cloaked by their religious piety. They accuse the blind man of being Jesus’ disciple, but they are Moses’ disciples! (9:28). Why? They do not know where Jesus comes from (9:29). He has not passed the right tests or gone to the right schools. He does not fit into the “box.” The man who had been healed now schools the Pharisees. Surely they do know where Jesus comes from. They know that God does not listen to a sinner, and now this Jesus has healed a man born blind. This is an extraordinary miracle. Surely this Jesus comes from God! (9:30-33).

Now it is too much. They accuse the blind man of having been born in sin—remember the slander that hung over his head beforehand at the start of the story of suffering because he was a sinner?—and they throw him out of the synagogue (9:34). In their evil intent, they attempt to undo the very good that Jesus has done; they would not re-blind him, but they could throw the blind man out and tarnish him as a sinner.

But note the compassion of Jesus. He hears of this event, and he finds the man he had healed (9:35). Jesus goes looking for him. One of his own is being accused needlessly, is being attacked unfairly, is being treated poorly; and Jesus finds him. He searches and he finds. So our God will not leave us to our enemies or our accusers, but seeks and finds the lost!

The question Jesus asks the healed man: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (9:35). And the simple question in reply, “Who is he that I may believe?” (9:36). How different is this man’s approach than that of the Pharisees! He merely wants to know and then he will believe. May God give us such soft hearts. The man believes, and he worships Jesus (9:38). May we this morning believe and worship Jesus.

May we not be like the Pharisees, who overhear this going on and, instead of joining in, ask whether they, too, are blind (9:40). They are not interested in the truth of Jesus; they are interested in trapping Jesus. Jesus’ reply: “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains” (9:41). The tables are turned! The man who had been born blind was not born in sin, but the Pharisees—with all their outward piety—they are really the sinners, they are really the blind, and they really are the guilty.

Today we live in a Pharisaic culture, albeit a non-religious one. People are constantly judged in the court of social media, and our society moves from one righteous outrage to another righteous outrage. How hard it is to realize that we might be spiritually blind. And how wonderful it is that when we ask to see, when we believe and worship Jesus, then we are saved! Would you worship Jesus as Lord and God this morning? See him, gaze at him, and adore him!

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