By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Professor of Biblical Studies, University of Mobile
YOU HAVE SEEN HIM (John 9:24–38)
Jesus healed a man born blind. After making and placing mud patches on the man’s eyes, Jesus instructed him to wash his eyes at the pool of Siloam. The man could see for the first time.
His countenance changed so noticeably that some people did not believe it was the same man. Jewish leaders were unconvinced until his parents were summoned to identify him as their son who was born blind. The man’s parents feared being removed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus as Messiah (v. 22). So when the Pharisees asked about the healing, they replied their son was old enough to speak for himself.
I Can See! (24–25)
The man was called to testify again before the religious court. The inquisitors asked how could a Sabbath-breaker, an obviously rebellious sinner, give him sight. The witness replied that all he knew was Jesus touched him and healed him. He was born blind but now could see.
When I read this story, John Newton’s lyrics from “Amazing Grace” come to mind: “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” This former slave ship captain who was saved and called to pastoral ministry also had these powerful words attributed to him: “Two things I know with certainty: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!”
You Can’t See? (26–34)
The religious leaders asked the man how Jesus gave him sight. The man responded he had already told them and asked if they wanted to be Jesus’ disciples too. When the leaders said they were Moses’ disciples and asserted Jesus was a sinner, the man asked how God could have done this marvelous thing through Jesus if He was a sinner. The leaders were saying the man should be able to see Jesus was a sinner and a lawbreaker. And the man was boldly saying the leaders should be able to see Jesus was the Messiah — that if Jesus was who they said He was, how could He have healed his sight?
They responded to this reasoned argument by saying the man had been a sinner his whole life, insinuating he was born blind because of his sin. Now that he was of age and unrepentant about following Jesus, he would no longer be welcome in the synagogue (v. 22).
We face this frustration when sharing our faith journey. We want to faithfully evangelize, bear witness and answer anyone who asks why we believe in Jesus. But spiritually blind people cannot see what we see. Their eyes are not yet open, but they believe they hold religious and moral high ground.
I Can Really See! (35–38)
Jesus sought the man after his expulsion from the synagogue. Using messianic terminology echoing Ezekiel’s words, Jesus asked if he believed in the Son of Man. When he replied, “Who is He, sir? Tell me so I may believe,” Jesus responded, “I am He.” The man declared he believed, and he worshipped Jesus.
Then Jesus enigmatically said He came to give sight to the blind and take sight from those who see. John records that the Pharisees inquired if Jesus was saying they were blind too.
A formerly blind man saw Jesus was the Messiah. Meanwhile, the pious Pharisees looked Jesus in the face yet were blind to who He was.
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