Spiritual Blindness

John 9:35-41

Jesus heard that the Pharisees had thrown the man out who was blind from birth, for he wasn’t going along with what the Pharisees wanted. When He caught up with the man, the man came to believe in Him and worshipped Him. This brings us to verse 39; why doesn’t anyone ever quote it?

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

John 9:39

I would expect that if my next post was titled “Jesus Came to Judge the World” many, probably most, of you would object, but there you are in His own words! Of course He also said that He had not come to judge, as the atheists like to point out as they search for something to claim is a contradiction.

What shall we say then?

This is an unusual context, isn’t it? Jesus is playing on these words to show that the Pharisees have condemned themselves by their ruthless arrogance, for they claim to know all and see all, and yet when confronted with an amazing manifestation of the power and glory of God, as they were when this poor man received his sight, all they can think of is how to downplay the whole thing so they can keep their influence. So they conjure up their little investigation into the facts of the case, but not before they have already determined its outcome, and in the end, they have kicked the once blind man out of the assembly because he had the audacity to tell the truth.

There were some Pharisees present who overheard this exchange; look at their condescension:

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” (v. 40)

Can you imagine having that much attitude at that precise moment? Jesus explained:

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. (v. 41)

In a simple one-liner Jesus smashes any hope they might have of saving the situation. Have you ever noticed that often it is the very person or persons who should know best, who refuse to accept the obvious if it proves a threat to their position and influence? Since they admit they have the knowledge, that they should know better, they cannot claim innocence, no, not ever.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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25 Responses to Spiritual Blindness

  1. Russ P. says:

    Don, if you’ll forgive my dry humor but your post above sounds like an analysis of modern day politics more than a commentary on the book of John.

  2. gaustin00 says:

    and that is why Rom 1:20 is so profound “you are without excuse.” End of discussion per the Father. You had the evidence and you refused it.

  3. paulfg says:

    Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

    Even as I read this and continued into your narrative – something was odd. And then it happened: “To be judged I have come into this world, … “ I went and had a look at Mounce. Not that different. And I wonder – are we predisposed to “know” Jesus (aka “God”) is here to judge us (no matter how “nice” He is)? So do we always see “He judges” and “we are judged”? And even more oddly – is that why we so readily judge Him (aka God)– we always do – then and now.

    “I have come into this world to be judged. And those who do not judge will see, and those do will become blind.” Maybe.

    Thanks for this!

    • Don Merritt says:

      Interesting thoughts Paul; thanks!

      • 39 Then Jesus said, “My coming into this world is itself a judgment—those who cannot see have their eyes opened and those who think they can see become blind.” J.B. Phillips

        39 Then Jesus said, I came into this world for judgment [as a Separator, in order that there may be [b] separation between those who believe on Me and those who reject Me], to make the sightless see and to make those who see become blind’ Amplified Bible Classic edition

  4. Don, I have to point out here that in the chapter just preceding this one, Jesus also says (to the Pharisees), “You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.” (John 8:15-16)

    Between these verses and John 3:16-17, I believe He is telling us that it is not up to us to judge; it is only up to Him. He is the only one who is qualified to make valid judgment because we use our own subjective standards. He uses His standards, which are far more wise than ours.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Who can argue with you ultimate conclusion? (Where judgment is used in the sense of “passing judgment” as opposed to “Using good judgment”.)

      The path you’ve used to get there is certainly creative 🙂

    • Matthew 7:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

      Judging Others
      7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

      It is advisable that we not judge because we will be judged and according to our own method that may be far harsher than God’s

  5. Jesus always knew just the right thing to say at the right moment. Oh, if I could only do that, I have to ruminate before I can respond.

  6. vw1212 says:

    Interesting topic…vw

  7. Pingback: Spiritual Blindness | The Life Project | franciscansonthemountains

  8. mkellynotes says:

    Powerful Scripture verses! Love what you wrote! Helpful

  9. Pharisees sound a ton like atheists

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