John 9:35-41: There are none so blind…
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. NIV
- Jesus comes to the persecuted with encouragement (35): This poor man had been ‘thrown out’ (excommunicated) because, unlike his cowardly parents, he dared to stand up for Jesus. Jesus came to him and spoke to him. As I read this passage I was forcibly reminded of my solemn responsibility and great privilege to remember in prayer all who have been thrown out; those who suffer oppression for their Christian faith (Hebrews 13:3). Jesus will come to them again and again in many ways, including in the prayers of His people.
- Jesus comes to the seeker with revelation (35-38): It is fascinating to witness, throughout this ninth chapter, the gradual opening of the man’s eyes to the truth of who Jesus is – right up to the point of worship. The blind man came to Jesus because Jesus came to him in the first place (1). He was a seeker because Jesus sought him. The initiative was with Christ, and whatever the Lord commences He sees through to culmination; He leads that process across the finish line. (Philippians 1:6). ”Suddenly the picture comes into complete focus for him, and he believes – one of many individuals, throughout John’s story, who make the final step which John wants every reader of his book to make (20.31).” Tom Wright: ‘John for everyone’, p.145.
- Jesus comes to the religious leaders with rebuke (39 – 41): Knowledge equals privilege, and accountability comes with it. There is an irony in these words because in one sense the Pharisees were not blind. They had the Old Testament and they taught it to others. They had spiritual knowledge. They had God’s Book. But they refused to let it lead them to Jesus (5:37-40). Tom Wright says that the Pharisees are ”sticking to their principles at the cost of the evidence…Not only are they wrong, but they have constructed a system in which they will never see that they are wrong. It is one thing to be genuinely mistaken, and to be open to new evidence, new arguments, new insights. It is another to create a closed world, like a sealed room, into which no light, no fresh air, can come from outside. That condition, in fact, is not far removed from that which Paul describes in the first chapter of Romans (1.32). There are some people who not only do the wrong thing but adjust their vision of the moral universe so that they can label evil as ‘good’ and good as ‘evil’. Once that has happened, such people have effectively struck a deal not only with evil but with death itself. They have turned away from the life-giving God and locked themselves into a way of thinking and living which systematically excludes him – and, with him, the prospect and possibility of rescue” (p.146).