35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. When he found him, he asked, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 “Who is he, sir,” the man replied, “that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus answered, “You have seen him, and he is the very one who is speaking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” and he knelt down and worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, in order that those who do not see will see, and those who do see will become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus told them, “If you were blind, you would not hold on to sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
“What’s the matter, are you blind?” People will sometimes use that uncomplimentary statement on someone who missed something they clearly should have seen. Sports fans will direct those words at the referee who made a bad call against their team. A driver who has been in an accident might say the same thing to the driver who ran the stop sign and caused the accident. Jesus could have said the same thing to those he encountered in our study on the closing portion on John 9. But Jesus goal is not to hurl insults at someone who missed what they should have seen. His goal is to open our eyes so that we all will see the saving truth he brings us.
Jesus had cured a man of a blindness that plagued him all his life. For the first time he could see the world around him. But some of his first experiences after gaining his eyesight weren’t pleasant. As we saw in our last lesson, the Pharisees brought him in for questioning. They didn’t like the truthful answers the man gave so the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue.
Jesus didn’t waste any time reaching out to the man he’d just healed. The man could see the world around him. But his spiritual eyes were still blinded to the most important truth of all. Jesus asked if he believed in the Son of God. The Holy Scriptures foretold that the promised Savior would be God’s own Son who would be born into the world as a flesh and blood human being. (Isaiah 7:14) The man apparently knew the promise Scripture had made. He wanted to believe. But he did not yet understand that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promised Savior.
Now it was time for Jesus to cure the man of his spiritual blindness. He pointed to himself as the Son of God. God graciously worked in the man’s heart. He was not put off by Jesus’ humble outward appearance. He immediately confessed his faith in Jesus and worshipped him. The healing was complete. A man who was once physically and spiritually blind was now fully cured of both. He was now a true child of God.
The Pharisees saw Jesus also. They’d been watching him for sometimes now. They saw the miracles. They witnessed Old Testament prophecies about the promised Savior fulfilled in Jesus. They heard him teach with authority greater than anything they’d ever heard before. They heard the testimonies of this former blind man and others. Yet they still hardened their hearts to the truth. They refused to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the true Son of God. They scoffed at his proclamation that they were blind.
Jesus was filled with love for these lost souls. He tried to reach them with the saving truth that he proclaimed. But first Jesus needed to confront the sin-hardened Pharisees with the Law to lead them to see their sins and their need for a Savior. The Pharisees boasted of their great spiritual knowledge. They claimed that they were experts on the Holy Scriptures. Jesus told them that because they claimed to see they remained guilty. They rejected Jesus and put their trust in their own righteousness. Without Jesus they had no forgiveness of their sins. They would be judged by their own merits which were far short of what God demanded. They remained lost and condemned sinners in God’s sight. The only cure to their blindness was right in front of them, but they refused to see it. Truly they were still blind.
As we studied John 9 together, we addressed questions about why Jesus did things the way he did on this occasion. Why did this man need to be blind all his life? Why didn’t Jesus immediately come to his aid while he was being accused by the Pharisees? Couldn’t Jesus have prevented him from being thrown out of the synagogue? But let us instead focus on the grace and mercy Jesus showed the blind man. Our Lord knew exactly what he was doing. The end result of his work was that the man had his eyes so he could see. But more importantly, Jesus opened his eyes to the truth of salvation that only Jesus could bring.
Jesus shows us here how he graciously deals with us. All people come into this world spiritually blind. But our Lord Jesus has shown us amazing grace by giving his life to rescue us from our sins. He has opened our eyes to the truth that he alone is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to eternal life except through him. (John 14:6) Let all praise, honor, and glory be to our Lord Jesus. He has opened our eyes to see the truth of eternal life in him alone.
1- In John 9:5 Jesus called himself the “Light of the World.” How did Jesus show himself to be the “Light of the World” in this account?
A man who did not know Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world had his eyes opened so he believed the truth. By the grace of God we have heard Jesus’ testimony about himself and we believe. The light of salvation in Christ alone now shines brightly in our lives.
2 – What does this account tell us about our personal ministry of God’s Word?
Our job is to proclaim the Word of God in its truth and purity. Some will hear the truth and believe in Jesus. Others will hear the message and reject it. If many people rejected Jesus’ own testimony they will reject ours as well. But that doesn’t change our mission. We continue to confess Jesus Christ, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will work in people’s hearts to lead them to see and believe in Jesus as their Savior also.
3 – What strong judgment did Jesus announce to the Pharisees?
They claimed that they could see the truth of God’s Word. But they completely rejected Jesus. They were blind to the fact that they were lost and condemned sinners. Their only hope was Jesus and they refused to believe him. Truly they were spiritually blind
4 – What is the only cure for spiritual blindness?
Romans 10:17 said, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” God promises to work saving faith in Jesus through the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. He does not promise to lead people to faith by any other means.
If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to