John, Chapter 9
We all understand the symbolic meaning of sight. We can literally ‘see’ with our eyes and we can figuratively ‘see’ through our other senses and the spirit. ‘Seeing’ is synonymous with knowing the truth or having the truth revealed to us. There are countless verses throughout both the Hebrew and Greek Biblical texts that support and confirm this.
In Chapter 9 of Yochanon (John) a story unfolds about Yeshua healing a blind beggar by restoring the man’s sight. Some of the Pharisees, upon investigation and much debate, conclude that 1) Yeshua is not of G-d; and 2) The man was never actually blind and they dismiss him as a liar and a sinner. It is a beautiful, yet tragic story.
It is beautiful because the man who was in darkness has been redeemed both physically and spiritually. Tragic because the man’s parents, as well as some of the Pharisees, do not have the conviction it takes to witness truth. Our Father is faithful. We, just as little children, are (or should be) in a constant state of growth when we give ourselves to Him. In light of this we are given a warning for all times in the final verses of John 9.
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him. And Yeshua said,
“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, “What, are we blind, too?”
“If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
‘Now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains’? What does He mean? He is responding to the pompous and arrogant stance of the Pharisees. But what He reveals to us is this: It was not until they refuted the possibility that they could be blind….that they became guilty of sin.
In Torah, in the book of Leviticus, the Israelites are given the proper procedures for offerings and sacrifices. It is made perfectly clear that unintentional sin is still a sin but it is not considered a sin until that person ‘knows’ he committed it. It is then that he is called to react. Once he knows that he has sinned, he confesses and brings the proper sacrifice to atone for it.
Yeshua tells the Pharisees that if they were blind they would not be guilty of sin. This is in accordance with the understanding laid out in Leviticus.
The Pharisees knew who Yeshua claimed to be. They knew the Scriptures in regards to the Messiah. They knew the words of the prophets who foretold that the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind (both spiritually and physically). In knowing this, before they spoke, they could have been considered blind. Regardless of their initial attack on what He was saying, they could have been guiltless. This was their opportunity to see the truth, be convicted by it, repent and be healed. But they didn’t. Instead they denied the truth that they were witnessing. Instead… they took offense. It was this stance, this refusal to accept sight and yet profess, rather sarcastically, that they were not blind… that was their sin.
In retrospect, in knowing the TRUTH, we can look back at these men and be very judgmental. How could they, being learned men, deny the Messiah? But are we, really, any different? Do we at times come across ‘over-confident’ in our understanding of G-d’s word? Is it possible we hold pride that can keep us in darkness even though we would claim that we see?
If the God of Israel has put it upon your hearts to learn Torah….if He has put a yearning upon your heart that leads you to know that there is so much more to learn about His Ways and His Word….if He has softened your heart towards His land and His people…. you have choices to make. Hard choices.
As we grow and as He gives us the opportunity to be healed from blindness, He expects a change. He expects us to be convicted. If we fight that truth and refuse to let it be written on our hearts (consequently failing to show it in our actions) then we are no different than the Pharisees in John 9.
If we nod in agreement to truth when it is presented to us while among fellow believers, but refuse to put that truth into action out in the world, we are no different than the blind beggar’s parents. Although they knew that their son had been healed, they did not have the conviction to state the truth in public.
It is not a sin to be blind. In our Savior’s own words in regards to the blind man, “this happened so that the work of G-d might be displayed in his life.” When we change because of our conviction, we are just as the blind man. Our families, our friends, our co-workers…our neighbors…everyone…sees the work of G-d in us and through us.
He wants us to walk righteously. He wants to open our eyes. My only hope is that when G-d presents you with a truth and convicts you to grasp hold of that truth, you will respond like the blind man…with obedience and gratitude! That you will allow His truth and His Torah to shine through you! That you will throw off the traditions, theologies and man-ordained interpretations that are not of G-d! That you will delight in His instructions with humility (unlike the Pharisees) and sincerity, always knowing that there is more to learn.
In the words of Paul:
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing The Anointed One, Yeshua, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things..” – Phillipians 3:8