90 Days with Jesus, Day 47: John 9:35-41: When Jesus Opens Eyes

John 9:35-41

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36″Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

I confess that I have been distracted this week. Maybe it was right that it was so. After all, I learned some important lessons this week, lessons that I shall not soon forget. Lessons that will most likely change the way I approach conversations with people who do not believe as I do. Accordingly, I need only say a few things about this current Scripture we are reading together today.

Every time I read this chapter, I am amazed that this man’s faith continued to grow, all throughout their questioning, and he had never once even laid eyes on Jesus. For all intents and purposes, he did not even know Jesus. Jesus later says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have yet have believed.” I wondered if perhaps Jesus wasn’t thinking of this man when he said that.

Nevertheless, Jesus does say to the man, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking to you.” Jesus identifies himself as the One the man was being persecuted for.

Here are a couple of thoughts then. First, Jesus made it rather clear that even though this man had gone through a terrible ordeal (being accused of lying, being berated by the intelligentsia, perhaps being disowned by his parents, and eventually being kicked out of the synogogue), there was still more required of him as far as his belief was concerned. Even though he had ‘defended’ Jesus whom he had never met, there was more that was necessary: There was belief—but, perhaps a different sort of belief that just the belief that was on trial that day. I happen to think the man shows what sort of belief Jesus means in two ways. First, he calls Jesus ‘Lord.’ Second, he ‘worshipped’ Jesus. A similar scene is repeated later in John’s Gospel—after the Resurrection—by Thomas. After seeing the resurrected Jesus, Thomas responds, “My Lord, and My God.” So there are two aspects of this belief. One aspect is that of submission to Jesus (Lord). The other aspect is that of worship (God). Belief in the Son of Man has consequences and requires a certain disposition of the believer. It’s not enough to say and know. This man had progressed in his faith (The man called Jesus, Prophet, Godly man, etc.). Jesus takes him to the next step: Lord and God.

Second, it is painfully obvious that Jesus did not reject this man’s overtures of submission to Jesus Lordship and his overtures of adoration to Jesus divinity. What does this mean? Well it means that Jesus has affirmed this man’s faith. It means that the man’s response was correct. It means that, at least, this should be our response too! Here’s where it is amazing: Jesus is not just talking here about the opening of physical eyes. Oh, that’s part of it, but not all of it as the ensuing conversation shows. Thus, Jesus declares by accepting the appellation of Lord and the worship of this man that He is the proper object of our worship and devotion.

Third, and this is a wee bit out of order, Jesus found the man and told him who he (Jesus) was. Remember, the man had never seen Jesus—he only knew what Jesus had done for him. Later, Jesus finds him and introduces himself: Do you believe in the Son of Man? Jesus thus makes himself known to this man and, however implicitly, declares himself to be the reason behind the man’s newfound vision and the painful ordeal before the Pharisees. (It’s amazing, isn’t it, how his faith grew during the trial?) Jesus claims full responsibility. Here, I think, is a brilliant evangelism strategy. How often has someone told us something great has happened in their lives and we say, “Oh, Good!” or “Congratulations!” or “Wow, you were lucky!” Why not, “Do you believe in the Son of Man who has made this happen for you?” Why not turn the tables right then and there and give Jesus the credit and the blame and confront people with the decision one way or the other?

Fourth, despite his ongoing claims to the contrary, Jesus here says that he did come into the world for judgment. However, noticed that judgment has two sides to it. On the one hand, his judgment involves the clearing away of the clouds and confusion so that the blind will see. And on the other hand, his judgment involves the heaping up of mud and murk so that those who are confident in their own wisdom will go blind. His judgment cuts both ways—and no one remains unscathed; no one is safe. Those standing there with him caught on quick enough: Are we blind too? Some people can have mud splattered and stacked on their eyes and come home with eyes as clear as crystal. Others will only find themselves even more blinded. Elsewhere I may have quoted Paul’s note to the Corinthians, it’s necessary that I do it again:

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6, NIV).

Here’s the kicker: So long as we contend that we have insight, so long as we refuse the healing mud of Jesus, so long as we refuse to acknowledge our ignorance, we remain helplessly, utterly, profoundly blind. Furthermore, the Gospel will remain a mere mist to us, something incomprehensible, beyond our reach. Finally, so long as we remain in our state of hubris and contempt for Christ, our guilt will remain. “You will look for me,” he said, “but you will not find me. And you will die in your sins.”

There are many hopelessly lost people in the world who don’t even know it. They are blind to the truth of God. They are deaf to the Gospel. They would rather believe the lie. The god of this age has blinded them to the truth of Christ as revealed in Scripture and proclaimed by His servants and worshiped by his disciples. They can’t acknowledge that they are involved in the lie—supressing the very truth of God. They don’t even know they are the devil’s pawns, aiding and abetting the father of lies. The don’t even realize that they are captive to their own will, slaves to their own unbelief, servants of their own hubris. They are so far blinded that they confess the very lies they believe are actually, in their minds, truth. And what of those who think lies are truth? What hope is there for people who are that far gone?

Well, I hold out this one hope: Jesus here in John 9 healed a man who was so blind he had been blind from birth. I hold out this hope: that even those whose truth is a lie, who work to surpress the truth of God, who exchange the truth of God for a lie, who are blinded by the god of this age, whose father is the father of lies—even people who are so far gone, dare I say, are not yet beyond the healing power of Jesus. If He can open the eyes of a man born blind, and man who can’t see, how much more can he open the eyes of those who won’t see?

Soli Deo Gloria!

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  1. [I’ll include this reply and the link, but I also ask you to exercise caution. The English part is fine, but most of the blog is in a foreign tongue that I cannot read. I don’t know exactly what is being said. Visit at your own discretion.–Jerry]

    I’m a Christian writer, a poet of Crist. I have s little In English section of Christian poetry on my blog:
    http://ionatan.wordpress.com/tag/in-english/
    Do you want te see it? Thank you and God bless you.




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