He Once Was Blind

John 9:41 – Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

This chapter of John’s gospel records the dramatic happenings of the “Clay Controversy.”  A blind man miraculously received his sight when Jesus used clay, spit, and water from a nearby pool to undo his blindness (9:1-7).  The healed man had been well known and recognized around Jerusalem as a beggar blind from birth (9:8-11).  The situation caused such a stir as the man shared his story that he was quickly delivered to the Pharisees and rulers of the synagogue (9:12-17), who had mixed opinions.  The miracle healing was so off-putting that many could not believe that the man had previously been blind!  The man’s parents were called to testify of the matter, yet they affirmed that he was their son and blind from birth.  But then the plot thickened….

The parents were very cautious in their answered.  They would not share any opinion about the Healer of their son.  The Jewish authorities had already decided that Jesus was not the Messiah.  Anyone who believed that Jesus was Messiah would be excommunicated from the synagogue (9:18-23). The parents deferred to their son’s perspective so as to remove attention from them.  The healed man’s witness was clear: he was previously blind until Jesus healed him!  He refused to deny Jesus in spite of the pressured manipulation of the Pharisees (9:24-26). The ironic twist is that the uneducated beggar became the emboldened instructor, confounding the Pharisees with sound logic and scriptural teachings (9:27-33). Outwitted by the beggar, the Pharisees insult him and cast him out of the synagogue, only for the man to be found by Jesus.  The Lord discloses his identity to the beggar, and the beggar puts his faith in Jesus (9:34-38).

The story has two types of blind people as the main characters: the beggar who was physically blind and the Pharisees who were spiritually blind (9:35-41).  The blind ones who come to sight are those who admit their helplessness and inability to rescue themselves and are the ones who trust Jesus for salvation.  The beggar was willing to believe, but he was ignorant (9:36-37).  The beggar’s life changed when he recognized his helplessness, experienced Jesus’ powerful aid, and trusted the truth of Jesus’ identity.  The prideful Pharisees, who were haughty in knowledge and hungry for power, remained blinded as they refused to recognize both their inability to save themselves and the truth of Jesus’ identity.

People come to belief in Jesus in the same way as the blind beggar.  You must recognize your helplessness to save yourself from you sin and trust in Jesus’ as the Son of God, who alone has the ability and willingness to save you.

People reject belief in Jesus in the same way as the prideful Pharisees.  Self-righteousness and self-aggrandizement are still the worst symptoms of the blinded eyes of unbelief.

All of us were born blind because of sin.  The matter before us today is whether or not we will remain blind in our prideful self-righteousness or if we will come to Jesus to open our eyes to the truth of his ability and willingness to save us.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus and ask him to open your blind eyes of disbelief and to forgive you of your sins!


Daily Reading: Lev 17:1-19:37, John 9:13-34, Song 7:10-13
Bible Reading Challenge: 1-Year Bible Reading Plan

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Listen to the “Set Free to Serve” Sermon Podcast
Read more devotionals at Learning the Way of Wisdom

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