He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.(John 3:18-21)
John 9 tells the story of the sign of the man born blind. Signs are works of Jesus which are miracles, but they always serve to point to a larger Truth than the act itself. Jesus healed the well known blind man in the temple. He did it out of mercy, but he also wanted to expose the deeper blindness which afflicted his people.
We saw how the healed blind man, obtained a complete spiritual vision as well, for he saw who Jesus truly is in degrees. He first thought of Jesus as a man, then he confessed him to be a prophet and a worshipper of God and finally his vision was complete, He confessed Jesus as the Son of God and the LORD. Now He could see!
John 9 also serves to warn us of a far worse blindness, which Jesus revealed through this sign. It is not merely the blindness of original sin, or of ignorance of the Holy. What we see in John 9 is willful blindness, the insistence upon remaining blind, nothing less than the ‘love of darkness’ which Jesus had warned of in John 3.
In Jesus The true Light has come into the temple of God, the “Lord they sought had come suddenly to his temple” and had performed a sign which they had always insisted , could only be performed by the Messiah and in the days of Messiah.
That blindness is revealed by the reactions of the Pharisees and other religious officials, in the temple. Supposedly they were the ones whose vision was the sharpest, they were the guides and teachers of the people, experts on God, his Kingdom and entrance into it.
But these men had a vested interest in the status quo, they would not allow themselves to entertain the notion that this preacher from Nazareth, was anything more than any other itinerant Rabbi who seemed to have sprung up in those dark days, preaching hope in the Davidic Kingdom to come.
If the blind man healed, was on a trajectory of revelation, ever growing in the vision of Christ the LORD, they too were on a trajectory in the other direction, for no one remains static. He went from darkness to light, they went from the twilight, to the night, to the black and dark night…(see Proverbs 7).
Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. ( John 9:15-16)
“This man is not of God…” (He couldn’t be, he doesn’t keep our sabbath laws) .
The Pharisees had already decided that Jesus could not be “of God”, based on their criterion of the Sabbath day. Moses had commanded a day of rest, but over the centuries, Rabbis had commented on Moses, other Rabbis had commented on the first Rabbis and other sages had commented on the previous layer of commentary.
In this way the teachers of Israel copiously obscured the light of scripture by their layers of commentary! They had devised 1200 sub laws governing the sabbath day, and turned a day of blessing into an intolerable burden by their copious and exacting commentary. The true light is in scripture, not commentary!
Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.( John 9:24-25)
Now the Pharisees tried to force the formerly blind man to confess, that Jesus was a sinner! The Pharisees didn’t believe in original sin, so when they said Jesus was a sinner, they meant that He was living a life of transgression and uncleanness according to the Law of Moses.
Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.( John 9:28-29)
The Pharisees were losing the religious argument with the newly healed blind man, and they knew it so they resorted to arrogant dismissal, and ridicule of Jesus. This is an even deeper level of darkness, that they were descending into.
When they said,”We don’t know where this fellow comes from…” They were making allusion to the questionable circumstances of Jesus’ birth, in short they were calling him a bastard.
No one stays the way he is, we are all on a trajectory, some of us going from darkness to the light of full day, and some of us going from what light we once had, into ever deeper levels of darkness, as the well know Proverb advises us…
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:18-19)
Jesus closing Words describing his mission in terms of darkness and light, sight and blindness, merit deep consideration,
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 unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (john 9:39-41)
The man who was blind, and knew it… was able to allow Jesus to restore his sight. He knew that he didn’t know anything, he was open and teachable and so ready to receive from Jesus.
But the ones who proudly claimed to know, to see so clearly, and who had a vested personal interest in maintaining that claim, in the sight of the despised, untaught rabble, were not open to anything from Jesus. If only they were blind, if only they knew how little they knew…