March 10, 10:00 a.m.
Speaker: Nathan Busenitz
Topic: Eyes to See
Passage: John 9
Scripture uses blindness as a metaphor for unbelief. There are many around us who are spiritually blind: they have eyes to see but do not perceive spiritual reality. John 9 illustrates the vivid contrast between spiritual blindness and spiritual sight.
When we look at the condition of the blind man at the beginning of John 9, we see a man in a helpless condition. He is disabled, despised, and destitute—until he is met by the compassion of the Savior and experiences the reality of God’s healing power. The blind man’s condition was preordained so that God might put His work on display through His Son.
The blind man’s neighbors express confusion after seeing Jesus heal him. Rather than treating the blind man with compassion, they treat him with contempt. They do not have eyes to see. They are blinded by their skepticism and incredulity, and as a result, they miss the miracle that is standing right in front of them.
The Pharisees display consternation at Jesus’ healing of the blind man because it demonstrates that He is God. The Pharisees do not have eyes to see this. They are blinded by their religious traditions and rituals.
Even the blind man’s own parents have a disappointing response: they react in cowardice. What should have been a joyous moment for them becomes a point of intimidation and interrogation. Considering the cost, it is too high, and rather than celebrating the miracle right in front of them, they give in to fear. They do not have eyes to see, they are blinded by their fear of man.
The synagogue officials condemn the blind man and reject Jesus. They are blinded by spiritual pride and refuse to see what is right in front of them. They attack the blind man and drive him out of the synagogue. But the blind man knows that Jesus is God because only God can do what was done for him. Jesus has changed his life, and he will not let anyone tell him otherwise.
The story of the blind man is a story of a sinner’s conversion. First, Jesus gives the blind man eyes to see in the physical world, and then He gives him spiritual eyes to see the truth of the Gospel. The blind man embraces Jesus in saving faith, immediately responding in worship.
The blind man’s worshipful response exposes the counterfeit religion of the self-righteous religious leaders. Jesus offers spiritual sight, but these men claim to be spiritually perceptive, thinking they do not need a savior because they are secure in their own self-righteousness. They harden their hearts, closing their own eyes so that they cannot see.
If the religious leaders recognized their spiritual blindness, they would have cried out to God to give them sight. But because they claim to be able to see, relying on their own self-righteousness and religious activity, their unbelief remains. Claiming to see, they remain blind. As a result, they fail to recognize the Light of the world, even when He is standing and shining right in front of them.
Christ regenerated, renewed, and restored the blind man to spiritual sight. . . And yet, because he worshipped Jesus, he was condemned and cast off by the world. But the cost for him was nothing. He would give it all up to turn his eyes upon Jesus and see the things of this world grow strangely dim. In the end, this man’s conversion stands in stark contrast to the self-righteousness and counterfeit religion of the pharisaical system.
The Character of Spiritual Blindness.
People today close their eyes to the Gospel and remain callous in their unbelief for the same reasons as the people in this story. Fear, self-righteousness, religiosity, contempt, and spiritual pride darken the eyes of unbelievers and keep them from seeing Christ for who He is.
The Spiritual Sight of the Remnant.
Though many witnessed Jesus' power, there was only one who believed. It’s the blind man alone who sees. And yet, before he receives his sight, Jesus sees him. The Lord initiated this encounter. The man did not see Jesus until Jesus changed his life.
What a glorious picture of salvation. The condition of this man is desperate. He is destitute, disabled, despised, and dead in his sins. Yet Jesus sets His eyes on him, just as Jesus set His eyes on everyone who is part of His remnant. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, offers spiritual sight to all who look to Him. He gives us eyes to see so that we might embrace Him in saving faith, and God might receive all the glory.
Now, having our eyes opened by the transforming power of God, each one of us can say with the blind man in John 9:25, “I once was blind but now I see.”
May we who have eyes to see call the spiritually blind to look on Jesus, so that they might have eternal life.