Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”
The great, and tragic, irony of the episode John recounts in chapter 9 of his Gospel is that while a blind man receives his sight, many of those who began with two working eyes reveal themselves to be utterly spiritually blind.
John included this event because it is one of the signs that has been “written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). As Jesus gave the blind man sight, so Jesus can give us life. Just as surely as He opened this man’s eyes physically, so Jesus can open the spiritual eyes of men and women.
And Jesus must open men and women’s eyes spiritually because, as the Bible teaches uncompromisingly, men and women are spiritually blind from birth. We may think we see truth clearly, but in rejecting Jesus, we show ourselves to be blind in the only sense that eternally matters. Sin has robbed us of our vision, and we are unable to make ourselves see spiritually any more than the blind beggar could overcome his lack of physical sight. Unless we are made aware of the true nature of our condition from the Bible—until our blind eyes are opened to see our true state and until our deaf ears are unstopped to hear this story—the proclamation of any antidote is irrelevant.
When the Bible says we are blind, it speaks to the awful way in which sin has permeated our condition. Sin affects our emotions, will, affections, and intellect. There is no little citadel in our experience to which we may go to find refuge from our fallen state.
We must not be lulled into thinking that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says, that people aren’t really totally blind. The friends and neighbors to whom we go and tell the gospel are not living in some middle territory between belief and unbelief, between sight and blindness. They neither see truly nor even know what it means to do so. For this, they need divine intervention, just as we once did.
By nature, the gospel story is foolishness to us. We are born deaf to its appeal and blind to its wonder. Only the God who opened the eyes of the blind man can open our eyes too. What a wonder, and a cause for gratitude, that we are able to say with the blind beggar, “Though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). And what an encouragement for us to share all that God can do, for there is no greater joy than to speak of Jesus and then watch Him open blind eyes to see who He is and what He has done.
As a thank-you from us for your gift, we'll send along this month's resource: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded: A Liturgy for Daily Worship from Pascha to Pentecost by Jonathan Gibson
Click here to learn more about Truth For Life
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.