Bible Study on John 9: Why Jesus Said, “If You Were Blind, You Should Have No Sin?”

April 2, 2023

A “blind” person, as the name suggests, is someone who has his eyes wide open but cannot see anything. This is a metaphor for those who lack knowledge and are nearly illiterate. When it comes to this phrase, some brothers and sisters may ask: What has this phrase got to do with our belief in God? In the beginning, I also didn’t have a deep understanding of this phrase. This went on until one time I read the records of the Gospel of John 9 when practicing spiritual devotion. It allowed me to have some understanding of why some believers in the Lord were like blind people who have their eyes wide open.

According to John 9, the record goes like this: On the Sabbath the Lord Jesus healed a man born blind. This man was brought to the Pharisees, and they asked him how he could see. He told the Pharisees that the Lord Jesus anointed the clay on his eyes and he could see after he washed them. At that time, some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not of God, because he keeps not the Sabbath day.” Others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” There was a division among them. Because the Pharisees didn’t believe he was blind from birth, they confirmed that from his parents. The Pharisees called again the man who was born blind, and said to him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then the Pharisees said to him again, What did he to you? how opened he your eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and you did not hear: why would you hear it again? will you also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, You are his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from where he is. The man answered and said to them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that you know not from where he is, and yet he has opened my eyes. Now we know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and does his will, him he hears. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. The Pharisees said to him angrily, You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said to him, You have both seen him, and it is he that talks with you. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said to him, Are we blind also? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you should have no sin: but now you say, We see; therefore your sin remains. (See John 9: 1–41)

From the records of this chapter, we can see: Though this man who was born blind couldn’t see with his physical eyes, his spiritual eyes were opened. From the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus on him, he recognized the Lord Jesus was not an ordinary person and that what He did came from God. Because he knew only God had such power and authority that could make the blind see light again, and that such authority and power was not possessed of and capable of by any person. Because he had such knowledge, when the Lord Jesus asked him, “Do you believe on the Son of God?” He answered without hesitation, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped God. How about the Pharisees? They were not blind outwardly, but their spiritual eyes were blind when they faced with the Lord Jesus’ work. They saw clearly the Lord Jesus performed many signs and wonders, such as, letting the blind see and the lame walk, walking on the sea, feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, raising the dead, and so on. But they still didn’t find He was the Messiah who was to come. These Pharisees only judged the Lord’s identity from His appearance. They insisted that the Lord Jesus was a Nazarene, an ordinary man who was the son of the poor carpenter Joseph. Therefore, when they personally saw the man born blind was healed, they didn’t see the being of the Lord Jesus’ divinity at all and they blindly condemned and denied that the Lord Jesus is of God. In the end, they joined hands with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross—provoked the disposition of God—and committed a heinous crime. Obviously, these Pharisees were truly like blind people who had their eyes wide open. They saw with their own eyes the miracles that the Lord Jesus performed, but they were numb and slow in spirit. This is why they could not basically see that the power of the Lord Jesus was from God, and that the Lord Jesus was the Redeemer they had desperately yearned for so long. No wonder God’s words said: “Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not” (Isaiah 6:9).

The work of the Lord Jesus has already lasted over two thousand years. Now, the disasters in different countries are getting bigger and bigger. Most of the prophecies regarding the Lord’s return have been fulfilled, such as, the return of Israel, the split of the Mount of Olives, and the appearance of false Christs. This is sufficient to prove that the Lord should have returned. We, like the Israelites of that time who faced with the Lord Jesus’ work, are in the change of the new and old ages, how should we watch and wait for the Lord’s return? If we are as keen in spirit as the man born blind, from the miracles that the Lord Jesus had done on him, who recognized God’s identity, and that He is Christ, God Himself; if we are like the Lord Jesus’ disciples, who from the Lord Jesus’ work and word recognized that He was the coming Messiah, and believed in and followed Him; then we will be those whose spiritual eyes are opened. In this way, even though the Lord appears to us in the way and image which is completely out of line with our notions and imaginations when He returns, as long as we seek sincerely and examine carefully, we can also recognize God’s identity from His work and word and thus welcome the Lord’s return. If we remain numb in spirit, neither seek nor investigate the Lord’s work inconsistent with our conception, then we will be the foolish virgins, missing the chance to welcome the bridegroom. Just like the Pharisees, even though they saw God’s appearance, they still condemned God fiercely and stubbornly, so they couldn’t see God’s extraordinary authority and power, nor could they recognize the original identity of God Himself. At this point, we can see that if we believers in God are like blind people who have their eyes wide open, then how tragic and terrible it will be!

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