Losing My Literalism: We are All Born Blind

In John Chapter nine, Jesus heals a man born blind. His disciples asked the question of why this man had been born deficient in the way they had been taught. It was an aspect of the fall. Ever since Adam fell, his progeny was predisposed to error and disease. A man born blind was an outworking from the fall, therefore sin had to be involved at one level or another. To a degree, this is true. Blindness is part of the curse of sin. We were not supposed to have blindness, deafness, lameness or any other malady, but sin expresses itself in all of this and so much more. Cancer, homosexuality, dementia and more is only in this world because of sin, both individual and corporeal.

Rather than pin the malady on any particular sin or sinner, Jesus stated that this man had been dealing with blindness his entire life so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Our modern (postmodern) sense of justice resists such an explanation. We must be transformed to God’s word in places where we have been conformed to the values of this world! It is so easy to look at this man’s life as a punishment that he didn’t deserve! He had endured a beggar’s life so that God’s power would be made known. How unfair!

But then, how many martyrs have joyfully laid down their lives for the glory of God? This man endured blindness, and then was healed by Jesus. His life was used to the glory of God and captured within the pages of holy scripture. Who could ask for anything greater?

John 9:39-41
 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Jesus explained that the norms of society were about to be flipped. The first would become last. Those who claim to see would be shown as blind and those who were lame would walk again. These are all signs of the messiah, but this text reveals that the people were becoming afraid of naming Jesus because they might be put out of the temple. Being put out of the temple was a serious punishment for it meant that you were no longer a member of polite society.

The Pharisees rightly understood that Jesus was saying that they were blind, more blind than the man born that way. Their response was literal and straight forward. They asked Jesus if they were truly blind and He replied that they are able to see, and that is why they are guilty for all that they claimed to be aware of.

These teachers of Israel wanted to keep the discussion grounded in a literal context. “Do my eyes work or not?” was their argument. Jesus disregarded their challenge because the blindness they experienced was worse than the blindness of a man born without vision. Their blindness was one based upon the darkness of sin. They were in desperate need of a savior, far more in need than they would ever admit. And it gave that same savior an opportunity to contrast their great need with the smaller need of the man born blind.

You and I, we are both crooked deep down. And we have this tendency to use ourselves as the measuring rod. If something matches me, it must be OK, right? That is nothing more than the first temptation to make oneself to be like God, defining things upon a sliding scale of self. We see the problems of others and assume the worst, while underselling our own failures.

Better to come to the great physician, the one who has carried our burdens and through His stripes our maladies can be healed. But He does not heal maladies that we withhold. If we say we need no savior He will not save. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Look to the lover of your soul and live. This is done with eyes of faith, not of flesh, so this command to believe the gospel is applicable to anyone and to everyone. To reject your need is to reject your savior. Just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day largely did.

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Published by CoffeeSwirls