Which is the Blind One?

Posted: June 22, 2015 in John
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John 9:35-41, “Which is the Blind One?”

There’s nothing like a bit of irony.  Old kid’s poem: “One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead men got up to fight.  Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.  A deaf policeman heard the noise & came and arrested those two dead boys.  If you don’t believe this lie to be true, ask the blind man, he saw it too.” 

The Bible is full of ironic situations along the same line.  Jesus taught that it was the last who would be first & the first last.  He taught that it’s only by losing our lives that we can save them, etc.  In the gospel of John, the same thing is beautifully illustrated for us as it is a blind man who truly sees, while the supposed-seeing are really those who are blind.  A bit of paradox perhaps, but it certainly makes the point.  If the blind man sees the Messiah while the Pharisees cannot, which one is truly blind?  Which one would you rather be: the rejected outcast who comes to faith in Christ, or the prideful elite who cannot even see their need to be saved?  Spiritual blindness is the worst kind of blindness of all.  That’s a blindness that has an eternal consequence.

Our text comes at the end of what was likely a very long day for a formerly blind beggar.  We’re never told his name, but we’re privy to what was the best & worst & best (again) day of his life.  It had begun like every other day: begging on the streets of Jerusalem, waiting for someone to show a bit of compassion to him & give him money so that he could eat.  The man had been born blind, so this was all he knew his entire life.  He had no hope of ever changing, so it seemed to make no difference to him one particular day as Jesus stood before him & Jesus’ disciples started up a conversation with their Master.  The blind man was the subject (rudely being spoken of in the 3rd person as he’s sitting right there!), as the disciples openly questioned his sin or the sin of his parents as the cause of his lifelong blindness.  Jesus’ response was far more compassionate that the theoretical question of the disciples, as Jesus rightly saw the man’s blindness as an opportunity for God to be glorified (instead of questioning the cause).  Jesus proceeded to put mud on the man’s eyes & in a marvelous act as the God of Creation, gave the man his sight (which he received after washing in the pool of Siloam.

The miracle obviously generated a bit of attention, and the man was brought to the Pharisees for questioning.  They were already opposed to Jesus, and the fact that Jesus had done the miracle on a Sabbath really rankled them.  They repeatedly questioned the man, asking what Jesus did & how He went about it, looking for some reason to condemn Him as a Sabbath-breaker.  Although under immense pressure, the man refused to throw Jesus under the proverbial bus & even lost his patience with the Pharisees.  It ought to be obvious that Jesus was a Man of God, and when he said this to the learned-Pharisees, they were incensed that this (supposed) sinner had the gall to try to teach them anything.  They threw him out of the synagogue, never looking back.

To this point, the formerly blind man still hadn’t placed his faith in Jesus.  His physical sight had been given to him, but he still hadn’t yet fully received his spiritual sight…though he was on his way.  The Pharisees on the other hand, refused to see Jesus, and were offended by any possibility He might be the Messiah.  Which one was truly blind?  It’s a bit of irony – a bit of paradox – and the answer would certainly have been surprising to the Jews.

John 9:35–10:6
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

  1. Jesus “heard.” Once He heard what had happened to the formerly blind man, Jesus came to him.  Had Jesus heard through the grapevine?  Did He only find out about the man’s interrogation after the fact & come running to him, too late?  No.  Obviously the Bible doesn’t give us any further details than what is listed here, but from elsewhere in the Bible we know that Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient) – He didn’t need anyone to inform Him of anything.  He knew all things and had a purpose for all of His own actions. (He still does!)  So what was going on here?  Jesus surely knew the questioning & berating this man received from the Pharisees.  He knew how this man stood firmly on Jesus’ behalf even when the man’s own parents weren’t willing to stand with him.  Jesus wasn’t physically with the man while he stood in front of the Pharisees, but no doubt He was aware of it the whole time.  Yet Jesus came to him after He heard the man was cast out; not before.  Why?  What Jesus late in coming?  No.  Jesus came at the perfect time.  He came when there was a need.  He came when the man was ready.
  2. Objection: “Wasn’t there a need when he was being questioned by the Pharisees?  Didn’t the man need Jesus’ help then?”  Probably, but the man wasn’t yet ready to receive it.  Keep in mind that the greatest need in this man’s life wasn’t being protected from the harassment of the Pharisees, or having his place in the synagogue secured; it was salvation.  When arguing with the Pharisees, the man stood firm for Jesus, but he didn’t yet believe in Him.  This man was going through a lengthy process in coming to faith.  When first healed, he initially described his healer as “a Man called Jesus,” (9:11).  To the Pharisees, the man’s thoughts about Jesus had grown to the point he called Jesus “a prophet,” (9:17) and sent “from God,” (9:33) but that was it.  All of that is wonderful, but it falls short of saving faith.  Jesus is indeed a healer, a prophet, and sent by God, but He is infinitely more.  Without recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, no one is saved! (They still aren’t…)  This is why Jesus waited.  He came at the right time: the moment when the man was ready to come to faith and be saved.
    1. God knows what it will take for us to come to faith.  So many people pray for comfort and blessing (so-called), but during comfortable time they won’t be found looking to the Lord.  Many times it’s only when people get uncomfortable that they turn to God.  What did it take for you?  How many times did you say “no” to Jesus before you finally said “yes”? (Perhaps you still haven’t!)  For some people, it’s only after they’ve lost everything else in their life, just like this formerly blind man.  Jesus was ready when the man was – but Jesus wasn’t going to force Himself one minute too early.
      1. What will it take for you?
  3. Jesus “found.”  Not only had Jesus heard about the man, He was also the One who took the initiative to go to him.  The man was certainly ready to come to faith, but it was Jesus who went and “found him.”  This is true with the formerly blind man & with all of us.  God always takes the initiative.  God always takes the first step.  No one comes to faith in God because they woke up one day & all of a sudden decided ‘it’s time to get saved.’  No – God is the One working on us, preparing us, reaching out to us so that we will call upon Him in faith.  God takes the first step.
    1. Some people have a problem with this idea, wondering if it opens the door to Calvinism.  Be assured: this isn’t Calvinism – this is Christianity.  ALL orthodox Bible-believing Christians can affirm that God takes the first steps in our salvation, regardless where else we stand on Calvinism.  Jesus clearly taught that no one comes to Him unless the Father draws the person to Him (Jn 6:44).  Jesus taught that it is the Holy Spirit who is at work in the lives of unbelievers, preparing them for the message of the gospel by convicting them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 16:8).  All of this takes place before anyone puts his/her faith in Christ to be saved.  It does nothing to negate our free will, but it definitely does demonstrate the essential role of God in reaching out to us first.
    2. What does this mean for the believer?  It means God knows you & loves you & took the first steps in inviting you to love Him.  It is a grand demonstration of love from our wonderful Heavenly Father!  (Think about that on Father’s Day!)
  4. Jesus asked.  Once Jesus personally sought out the man, Jesus asked him an important question: “Do you believe in the Son of God?”  Many Bible translations word it a bit differently: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  Without getting too much in the weeds, there is a bit of disagreement between the ancient manuscripts.  The oldest extant manuscripts say “Son of Man,” while the vast majority of manuscripts & Church Fathers say “Son of God.”  Both terms are Messianic titles, though with different backgrounds & emphasis.  Either way, the intended meaning of the question is the same. “Do you believe in the Messiah?”  Note Jesus did not ask, “Do you believe I am the Messiah?”  That is a much different question & a far more precise one.  Jesus is certainly leading to that point, but He first asks the man if he believes the promises of God.  Does he believe that God promised to send the Messiah?  Does he believe what the Scriptures say about the Messiah?  Does he believe that the Messiah could possibly be among them?  For months (or longer) prior to Jesus’ own ministry, John the Baptist had proclaimed the soon coming of Messiah.  He told the Jews of the Son of God who was coming & how He would set up the Kingdom of Heaven.  He prepared people to repent & prepare themselves for this coming King.  Had this man heeded the warning?  Did he believe God’s Scriptures & God’s prophet?
    1. Before any of us place our faith in Jesus, we each come from a similar generic starting point.  Do we believe in God?  Do we believe God’s word & His promises?  It’s impossible to ever place our faith in Jesus as the Son of God if we never believe in the existence of God in the first place.  That’s not to say atheists can never be saved – many former atheists come to a point they release their atheism & place their faith in Christ, but they have to make a conscious decision whether to remain in unbelief or to acknowledge the evidence in front of them.  As do all of us.  We have to admit there is a God before we can believe upon Jesus as His Son.  This might mean we can no longer deny that Jesus is anything but God, but at least that’s a starting point.
    2. That said, belief in God does not necessarily equal belief in Jesus.  Faith that God exists is not a guarantee of heaven.  It’s not enough to merely believe that God is real – even the demons know that.  It’s not enough to believe the Bible is a holy book (if we can use the term).  Carrying a Bible & believing in God won’t get anyone into heaven.  That may be a starting point, but Jesus calls us to a far more specific faith. (Which is what He’s leading to with this man.)
      1. What’s your starting point?  Do you believe in God & in His promises in the Bible?  Where has that led you?  Let it lead you to Christ!  Go beyond the starting line of faith all the way to the goal: faith in Jesus as the crucified & resurrected Son of God.  Believe in Him as the One True God, the Son of Man, the Messiah of God sent to save the world!

36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

  1. The man’s response to Jesus is wonderful!  He may not have answered the direct question of Jesus, but he sure get to the point Jesus wanted.  This man certainly would believe, if he only knew who the Messiah was.  Question: “Why didn’t the man already know?  After all, Jesus was the one who healed him.”  True, but remember that this man was still blind when Jesus put the mud on his eyes and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  Up until this point, the man had never knowingly laid his eyes upon Jesus.  No doubt he knew Jesus’ voice, but he hadn’t known all of the circumstances that surrounded his healing.  With all that in mind, this man was definitely ready to believe in the Messiah – he just needed to be told who it was.
  2. How many people today are in a similar situation?  They’ve come to the starting point – they’ve been prepared by the past work of God in their lives – they’re fully ready to believe…all they need is to be told the name.  All they need is to be pointed in the right direction.  They’re ready to believe the gospel; they just need someone to share it with them. … That someone is you.  It is all of us within the church, but for the people in your life & sphere of influence, it is you specifically.  Romans 10:14–15, "(14) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”"  Someone has to tell them – someone has to be sent to them.  That someone is you.  Objection: “But wait a second – I’m not a preacher!  No one has sent me or commissioned me to do this!”  Wrong.  While it may be true that you’re not a pastor or have the spiritual gift of evangelism, you have been sent.  You’ve been commissioned for the task; each of us were when we put our faith in Christ ourselves.  At that moment we were included in the Great Commission, as Jesus sent all of His followers into the world to make disciples of every nation (Mt 28:20).  He called all those who believed in Him to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) – and that includes you & me.  It includes every Christian – even the ones who think they could never lead someone to Christ!
  3. The fact that this man was so ready to believe ought to give us a lot of hope.  It can be discouraging to share your faith so many times & never see anyone respond.  Maybe you shared over & over again, and still haven’t seen anyone come to Christ.  That’s not necessarily a reflection on you; they just weren’t ready.  But some people are.  Eventually we’re going to come across someone who IS ready, and it’s for that person that WE need to always be ready to share our faith.  What if that one person was ready to hear, but we weren’t ready to speak?  God will still move, but He’ll use someone else to do it.  Be ready always!  Ask God to strengthen you, encourage you, and to bring you in contact with the ones He has prepared – with those who are ready.
    1. Some of you may be ready today.  Have you given it any thought?  Has God been preparing you for this moment?  Are you just waiting to be told of Jesus?  Your wait is over.  Vs. 37…

37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”

  1. Jesus had known about the man, taken the initiative in coming to him, had prepared him for salvation, and this man was ready.  When the man asks about the Messiah, Jesus clearly identifies Himself in no uncertain terms.  There’s no ambiguity – there’s no (so-called) “Messianic secret” – there is only a clear, unapologetic identification as Jesus as the Son of God/Son of Man. (Both titles refer to the Messiah’s deity, BTW.)  Just as clearly as Jesus told the crowds of Jerusalem that He is the I AM (Jn 8:58) – just as clearly as Jesus told the Samaritan woman “I who speak to you am He,” (Jn 9:26) Jesus makes His identity known.
  2. Jesus does not hide Himself from those ready to come to faith.  To the skeptic, Jesus might obscure Himself, just as He did with the skeptics in His ministry.  This was one of the reasons He taught in parables (Mt 13:13).  They weren’t willing to humble themselves before God, so the Son of God was obscured from them even as He physically stood right in front of them.  But Jesus never hid Himself from the humble.  He never removed Himself from those ready to come to faith.  He always made Himself clearly available to them, truly inviting them to respond to Him.
    1. That’s what Jesus still does today!  That is what Jesus is doing right now!  Jesus makes Himself known to the humble.  Have you understood your need to be saved from your sin?  Have you understood the righteousness of God & your need for His forgiveness & grace?  You’re just wondering how to receive it?  This is how!  Go to Jesus & believe upon Him.  Cast your hope & trust upon Him, believing Him to be the Son of God, crucified for your sins & risen from the grave.  As you do, be assured of this: Jesus will save!  He promised never to cast aside anyone who came to Him in faith (Jn 6:37).  He WILL save, so ask!  (You don’t even have to wait until the end of the sermon…) J
  3. Christian: do you remember the moment Jesus revealed Himself to you?  Obviously, we didn’t have a physical encounter with the Lord, as did this formerly blind man.  But there was a moment that our eyes were opened to Jesus.  There was a moment that our faith moved beyond the theoretical & into reality.  We knew beyond a doubt that Jesus is really God & that we needed to trust Him.  What was it for you? [I remember what it was for me…]  Never forget that moment!  Never let it grow cold!  The moment we take that memory for granted is the moment our love for Jesus begins to dull, and our zeal to share the gospel begins to fade.  It was in that moment of salvation that our love for Christ burned brightest, and that’s not something we ever want to take for granted.
    1. BTW – if you consider yourself a Christian, but don’t have a moment like that of your own, you might need to reconsider.  Even for someone who perhaps has always known of Jesus from childhood has a moment (or series of moments) that their faith became real, that it matured into their own & not that of their parents.  If you can’t point to a time in your life that Jesus became far more than theory & history, then you can’t really point to a time that you became a Christian.  Just as Jesus spoke to the formerly blind man, He is in the present tense. “It is He who IS talking with you.”  Jesus IS God, and He IS the Living Lord of all who put their faith in Him.  He IS available to save.

38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

  1. Finally!  This is the moment we’ve been waiting for since Ch 9 began!  When Jesus first came upon this blind man, the man didn’t even care about Jesus’ reputation & seemingly had no hope of ever being healed (much less eternally saved).  Once healed, he became excited about the Man who intervened for him, and he was willing to go the mat with the Pharisees for Him, but he wasn’t yet willing to worship.  But now, after he lost his ability to go to the synagogue and worship God, he comes to faith in Jesus as the Son of God & finds a whole new opportunity to worship – this time in spirit & truth!  Even the meaning behind his words changed.  When the man asked about the Messiah in vs. 36, he used the term “Lord,” but likely meant it as a term of respect (like “Sir,” which was a common usage for the word).  But combined with his worship of Jesus in vs. 38, there’s no doubt of how the man used the word “Lord.”  This time, he sees Jesus as the Son of God, and worships Him as God.  The man truly came to faith, and his whole life & world just rocked and changed.  (Just as it does for all of us!)
  2. Notice how simple this is.  There’s no long prayer – there’s no walking to the front – there’s no action of any kind that looks to be religious in the slightest.  Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things…but none of those things are absolutely necessary for someone to be saved.  Someone might go through that in the process of responding to Jesus in salvation, but ultimately salvation is a work of faith.  It happens in the heart & is instantaneous.  What does it take to be saved?  Romans 10:9, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  That’s it!  That’s all it takes: simple faith.  When your outward confession to others is also the inward confession of your heart – when you truly do believe that Jesus is the Risen Son of God, that’s it.  At that moment, a person moves from eternal death to eternal life & is saved.  There’s no other work that is necessary: no priestly blessing, no act of baptism, no rite or ritual of any kind.  We believe, and that’s it.  (We do get baptized, but baptism is given after we’re already saved; it’s not given in order for us to get saved.  BIG difference!)
    1. What’s stopping you?  You can believe right now, right where you are…
  3. What was the man’s response to his new faith in Jesus?  Worship.  The word means to fall at a person’s feet & kiss their feet, or the hem of their garment.  It was an act of complete humility and subservience – a surrendering of everything a person had in recognition of another.  And it’s the right response to Jesus as the Son of God.  We owe Him our worship.  We owe Him our everything.  When we believe upon Jesus to be saved, then we bow before Him, kiss His feet, and give Him all the adoration we can muster.  We no longer lift up ourselves, seeking to glorify ourselves – instead, we put all the attention on Jesus & give Him glory, honor, and worship. 
    1. That’s what all worship ought to be.  It’s not about us; it’s about HIM.  With the songs we sing, the lyrics ought to be focused on Jesus, the glory of God, His work, etc.  Too many songs are all about the Christian, and not about Christ.  Even the way we sing the songs need to be Christ-centered.  How many times are we more focused on how WE sound, rather the One to whom we’re supposed to be singing?  How aware are we of how we look to others, rather than simply pouring out our praise to God?  Obviously, we don’t want to be a distraction to someone else as we worship, but we don’t want our attention to be on ourselves, either.  ALL worship (be it in singing, private prayer, or whenever) ought to be about the glory and honor of God.

39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

  1. If there seems to be a change in the flow & narrative, that’s because there is. (You’re more perceptive than you thought! J)  Jesus had received the worship of the formerly blind man (which is one more act demonstrating that Jesus clearly proclaimed Himself to be God), and then makes a proclamation in regards to the man that wasn’t just about him, but about all who were listening.  Apparently the man’s coming to faith & worship of Jesus happened in a public setting, and Jesus used the time to teach others what was going on.  This blind man had been given sight, but there were others who believed they could see though they were really blind.  When Jesus came, He brought the truth with Him (because He IS the truth), and He would judge in truth.
  2. Question: Did Jesus really come for “judgment”?  Yes!  We don’t often think about it in those terms, but it’s true.  Yes, Jesus came to seek & to save the lost (Lk 19:10) – He came that those who believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16), but Jesus also came “for judgment.”  Keep in mind that judgment isn’t necessarily the same thing as condemnation.  The gospel of John already told us that Jesus’ mission wasn’t one of condemnation: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (Jn 3:17)  This is no contradiction with what Jesus says here in 9:39.  Here, Jesus isn’t referring to eternal judgment and condemnation; He’s referring to the right judgment He exercised during His earthly ministry.  He’s talking about the revelation of truth, and how the hearts and motives of people were revealed through His message and ministry.  As people encountered Jesus, they were divided: there were those who rebelled against His message & there were others who humbled themselves in faith.  Jesus confirmed the choices these people made – He exercised His righteous judgment over them.
    1. People still divide over Jesus.  All kinds of folks can find common ground under a generic “God,” but when Jesus is revealed as He is revealed in the Bible, all of a sudden there isn’t much middle ground.  We’re either with Him, or against Him.  We either are given the sight we need to see Him as the Son of God, or we continue in our blindness, willfully shutting our eyes against the truth.
    2. Again, this is WHY Jesus came!  When Jesus came, people had to make a choice about Him.  Some would choose to remain blind; others would choose to humble themselves and be saved.  That division and judgment was necessary for anyone to be saved.  No one receives the forgiveness of God by sitting on the fence regarding Jesus.  We have to come to a point that we make a choice about Him.  (Which will you choose?)
  3. Jesus always revealed Himself to the humble, but not everyone was humble.  To those who were proud – to those who rebelled against God – Jesus was hidden from their sight.  He would judge them for their spiritual blindness.  The NKJV doesn’t have the best translation here.  ESV & NASB say “those who see may become blind.”  The difference is in the voice, and it’s important.  The NKJV implies a passive voice, as if God is the One blinding them.  The word is actually in the middle voice, which shows it as an action they do to themselves.  Apart from Jesus, everyone is already spiritually blind.  The question comes in whether or not we choose to confirm that blindness – whether or not we make the decision to remain blind.  When answering the disciples’ question as to why He taught in parables, Jesus said this: Matthew 13:11–13, "(11) He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. (12) For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (13) Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."  Some are unwilling to hear the message of the gospel.  Some are unwilling to recognize and respond to the truth of God.  To those, even the knowledge they DO have of God is taken from them.  They might double-down on their religion, or in their “spirituality,” but they remove themselves further & further away from the truth of Jesus.  They confirm their own blindness, and God confirms their confirmation.  Just as Pharaoh hardened his heart against God & the message preached by Moses & thus God later went on to harden Pharaoh’s heart further, so do the proud experience the same thing with God.  They’ve already hardened their heart to the message of the gospel, and that hardening is confirmed.
    1. The Pharisees were prime examples of this very thing…

40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

  1. Again, Jesus spoke this publicly, and there were some Pharisees among the crowd witnessing all of this.  They easily put 2+2 together and knew Jesus was referencing them in what He said.  The blind man was really the person who could see, and it was those who supposedly had all kinds of spiritual sight that really were blind.  The Pharisees were the spiritual leaders of the people – they were “Moses’ disciples,” (9:28) – they should have had the sight needed to lead the people, but they didn’t.  They had become false teachers (as Jesus will go on to insinuate in Ch 10).
  2. You can almost hear them sneering to Jesus!  The arrogance that was surely in their voice!  “Are WE blind, also?  Surely You can’t mean US.  We’re the educated ones; we’re the elite.  How can You imply that WE are the ones who are blind?”  The NASB & HSCB both bring this out by properly translating the negative way the Pharisees phrased the question: “We are not blind too, are we?”  They assume a negative answer – how dare this upstart rabbi imply anything different?  HE was the sinner; not them.  After all, Jesus was the one healing people on the Sabbath, of all things. 
  3. What a contrast between the formerly blind man & the Pharisees!  He had humbled himself before Jesus, asking to be shown the Messiah, ready to place his faith and trust in Him.  It was the blind man who truly desired to see the Son of God.  The Pharisees on the other hand, were bound up in their pride.  They couldn’t even see their need for salvation.  They didn’t recognize their own sin, nor the holiness of the One they confronted.  This is a perfect demonstration of what Jesus just said.  He would judge easily between them, how the man who was formerly both physically and spiritually blind had received sight in both areas, while the Pharisees who believed they were the only ones with spiritual sight were blind in reality. 
  4. Actually, it was worse than that.  See vs. 41…

41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

  1. The Pharisees couldn’t even claim the excuse of spiritual blindness.  They claimed to be able to see, so their sin was even worse.  Jesus doesn’t so much agree with them that they weren’t blind (that was their claim; not Jesus’); He just uses their words to expose their lack of excuse.  If what they said was true, then they had even less hope than most.  The blind could at least come to Jesus to be saved.  Jesus had just gotten done demonstrating how He had the power to give physical and spiritual sight.  The invitation was open to anyone who would humble themselves and simply ask to be given sight, and know Jesus as the Messiah.  If the Pharisees refused to even acknowledge their need, they never even had the possibility of salvation.  A drowning man who refuses to grab hold of a life preserver will go down, even if he’s kicking & screaming the entire way.  Someone who never admits their need to be saved has no reason to call out to a Savior.  That was the position of the Pharisees, and that was their condemnation.
    1. There’s no small irony in the fact that the ones who claimed to value the words of Moses & the law given through him were the ones most in danger of being condemned by the law of Moses.  The law was never given make anyone righteous, or to somehow guarantee a person’s place in heaven; it doesn’t have the power to do that.  All the law can do is expose our sin, demonstrate our condemnation, and make us aware of our need for a Savior.  The law is supposed to be our tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24); not our excuse to refuse looking to Him.  The Pharisees used the law to claim they were sinless (which they weren’t), and they couldn’t even see their own desperate condition.
    2. How many people do the same thing today?  Instead of running to Christ for salvation, they find their confidence in all their attempts at good works.  “I give money to charity!  I’ve been nice to my neighbor!  I’ve tried to be a really good person!”  Good for you.  But none of that saves.  None of the good works we do ever erase all of the bad works we’ve done.  No one gets into heaven by letting our good works outweigh our bad.  (1) One doesn’t cancel out the other, (2) our works aren’t all that good anyway.  The point?  If this is what you’re trusting, you’re blind!  You’re just as blind as the Pharisees.  You cannot even see your need for the grace of God, and thus you’ll never ask for the grace of God – and (like the Pharisees) you will remain in your sin.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Open your eyes to reality!  Open your eyes to your need for Jesus.  If you can’t see it, ask for God’s help to do even that!  Ask Him to help you see yourself for how you truly are, so that you’ll know to ask for help, grace, and salvation.

Just a bit of irony…just a bit of paradox: it was the blind man who saw, and the sighted who were blind.  The man who just hours earlier was a beggar blind from birth now saw Jesus in all His fullness.  He was more than a man, more than a prophet, more than one sent & empowered by God – He IS God, the Messiah Himself come to seek and save the lost.  Once the man had the opportunity to be saved, he seized it, both believing upon Jesus for salvation and worshipping Him as the God that He is. 

The Pharisees however, faced a far different fate.  They may have prided themselves on their spiritual insight, but they turned out not to know anything at all.  They blinded themselves to their spiritual condition & were unwilling to even acknowledge their need for forgiveness.  Their pride (once again) got in the way of their salvation, and they were left condemned in their sin.  They may have always enjoyed physical sight but they had always been spiritually blind & they had no excuse.

Each of us find ourselves in one of three places in regards to these people: We are either (1) truly seeking God in humility, having been sought out by Him, & we are ready to come to faith in Christ – (2) We have seen Jesus as He is, we’ve placed all of our hope in Him as Lord, and we’re worshipping Him as God, or (3) we’ve continued to blind ourselves to Jesus, having refused to acknowledge our need for a Savior.

Just like the Pharisees, those in the 3rd group have no excuse.  God has revealed Himself to all the world through His creation, and our conscience ought to awaken us to the reality of our sin.  Wake up!  See yourself as you truly are (as all of us are): a sinner in need of salvation! 

To those in the 2nd group, we have known Jesus as Lord & we worship Him as God – but do we worship Him with abandon?  Do we worship Him with zeal?  Do we seek to be used by Him to tell others of Jesus?  Remember that moment you first saw Jesus & allow that fervor to be kindled in you once again!

To those in the 1st group, know this: God has already taken the first steps.  He has prepared you & reached out to you.  All you need to do is respond.  Like a drowning man, simply grab hold of the life preserver that is offered to you.  Believe upon Jesus Christ to save you!  You need not wait any longer – you can respond to Him today & you can know that you know you are saved.


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