In the Gospel of John, chapter nine, we read the story of a man born blind. Now a grown man, Jesus found him begging in the street. Approaching the man, He knelt down, spit in the dirt, made mud, put the mud on the blind man’s eyes and told him to wash it off in the pool of Siloam. This blind man could have done many things: he could have found a bucket of water close by; or he could have found a rag and wiped the mud off his eyes. But he didn’t. He went to the pool of Siloam and washed. And when he washed, he received his sight. It’s a miracle!
News soon spread, but the religious leaders didn’t like what they heard. So they called the man in for questioning. They even brought in his parents. What’s funny, is that the blind man didn’t know exactly who Jesus was. Listen to his own testimony, he said, “he is a prophet” (Jn.9:17), and “whether he is a sinner or not I do not know” (v.25a). He didn’t claim that Jesus was the Messiah. All he did was tell the cold hard facts: he once was blind and now he sees (v.25b). But no matter how many times he told them, they were too stubborn to admit that Jesus performed a miracle that proved His claims to be equal with God. They were spiritually blind. They could see that this blind man received his sight, but they refused see that Jesus is Lord. So they cast the man out of the synagogue…
When Jesus heard about it, He immediately went out to find him. But when He found him, he didn’t put his arm around the man and congratulate him for standing up for Jesus. “He asked the man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v.35) His response is unbelievable, “who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” (v.36)
Who is He! Sir! That’s it! Though this blind man had received his physical sight, he still couldn’t see Jesus. Like the religious leaders, he was spiritually blind. But unlike the religious leaders, he admitted that he didn’t know: remember his previous confession, “whether he is a sinner or not I do not know.” The blind man embraced his ignorance instead of putting on fake spiritual glasses.
This is the whole point of the story: even with 20/20 vision we are blind to who Christ is. And this includes you. God has given humanity a general revelation of Himself. Nature proclaims the glory of God’s handiwork. And the things created open our eyes to the power and majesty of God. Like the blind man, we know that only God could have done this! But knowing Jesus requires special revelation. And this is what Jesus did for the blind man… “Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you'” (v.37).
Jesus personally revealed Himself to the blind man. And his response to Jesus is the same as every man and women when they first see Jesus for who He really is… “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (v.38). Upon seeing the glory of Jesus Christ, he believed in Christ, put his trust in Him, and bowed before Him as Lord. As we would say nowadays, “he got saved”. In this special revelation, the Spirit of God opened the man’s spiritually blind eyes so he could see that the Man who was standing before him, was not just a mere man; He is God. Jesus pulsed life through his spiritually dead heart so that he could embrace Him as a glorious Lord.
For most, the paradox of spiritual blindness is this: they don’t know they are blind. In fact, they think they can see. So solve this one… Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (v.39).
We’re all blind. The question is, are we like the religious leaders of the story? Blind, but unaware of it. Or are we like the blind man? Blind, but aware of it, and willing to cry out to Jesus to heal us. It’s not because you were wise enough to understand the Bible; it’s not because you were keen enough to see the truth; it’s not because of the smooth message of a skilled preacher. We come to know Jesus when He opens our spiritually blind eyes and gives life to our spiritually dead heart. Glory to God!
Spiritual blindness is not limited to those outside the Church. The religious leaders -who knew God’s law -were blind. Think about the blind man: he had a miraculous experience with Christ but was still unconverted. So also, there are multitudes of men and women in the Church who are still spiritually blind. They may be religious, yes. They may have had an experience with Jesus, yes. They may even know the right words and say that Jesus is Lord. But they have never had their blind eyes opened. They have never fallen at the feet of Jesus as Lord and worshiped Him in light of His power and beauty.