By Jason Scherzer
The Word: John 9:39-41
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.
Exegesis / Background
In the beginning of this blessed chapter, Jesus has given sight to a man who was born blind, having compassion on the man. But there is opposition from the (human) religious authorities. Jesus says, “for the judgment of the world I am come into the world,” and it is a certainty that Jesus said these words, for we believe in the complete truth and accuracy of all Scripture. But it is a difficult statement, especially considering another statement made in John 3:17:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
We know that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, and He did not send the Son to judge (condemn) the world, but to save the world. How then can Jesus say, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”? Aren’t the two sections of Scripture in contradiction?
As we examined John 3:17 for a moment, it would be appropriate to also have a look at John 3:18-19, as it satisfies the question of apparent contradictory statements:
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
Jesus has said in John chapter 9, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5). Jesus’ light in the world has a transformative effect: Light shines into darkness; Light exposes evil; Light reveals God. This light is the Son of God himself. While Jesus does not come to condemn the world, His presence causes those who think they already see (the ultra-religious, self-righteous) to be condemned (if they will not ultimately repent and follow Him). The religious Pharisees refuse the true Light and refuse to admit their sin and helplessness.
Jesus reveals truth to some people, and He hides it from others. In our chapter, John 9, Jesus sought out a man who was blind from birth and healed him. This reveals Jesus to be the Son of God with another “I AM” statement: I AM the light of the world. We should remember that this is an absolute claim to equality with God; “I AM” is the same name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus.
A debate erupts for the Pharisees when they realize what Jesus has done for the man born blind. Further, He did it on the Sabbath, which is somehow a violation of their man-made law. The man who was given sight is thrown out of the synagogue by the Pharisees, but Jesus finds him in a miraculous encounter and reveals He is the Son of God. The man worships.
The religious Pharisees hear Jesus’ words, and take offense that Jesus would apparently declare them to be blind. Jesus tells them that they remain in sin, because they think that they know everything and see God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While the fact that all have sinned stands, the sins of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were exasperated by their denial of the Son of God and arrogant claims to spiritual enlightenment. They placed themselves under judgment by their response to Christ.
We need to come to Jesus with an attitude of “not seeing”, admitting that we are spiritually blind apart from Him.
Psalm 14:2-3 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Until the Lord opens our eyes, we cannot see Him. Using all your heart and strength, ask Him today to show Himself to you and give you spiritual understanding and new life. Admit that you are a sinner and in need of His grace. He loves to answer this kind of prayer, and He still opens the eyes of the blind.