Seeing and Not-Seeing

John 9:40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?”  41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains. 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.


The Pharisees were angry with Jesus for having healed on the Sabbath and had even gone to the extent of harassing the poor man who had been healed. In this follow-up conversation with Jesus they begin to understand that he is now talking about their spiritual state. Surely he wouldn’t suggest that the Pharisees were blind spiritually! These were very well educated men who knew their Scriptures.

In pronouncing their pride at knowing the Scriptures the Pharisees are also pronouncing their own condemnation. They are not blind because they have been well-versed in the words of the prophets. Therefore they should have seen that Jesus was the Messiah. They were seeing and yet not-seeing. They were not blind and so they should have seen Jesus as the fulfillment of all that they already knew. They had no excuse for not seeing Jesus and yet they were not-seeing and the result for them was sin. The Pharisees had physical sight and were very proud of what they perceived as their own spiritual sight. Sadly, they were spiritually blind and yet didn’t really know it. They are stunned when the words of Jesus begin to sink in.


For those who have been raised in the church and in the Scriptures there remains a temptation toward spiritual blindness. We can become accustomed to reading the words and they become so familiar that we no longer allow them to speak to us. We put on our own spiritual blinders through complacency and little by little our spiritual vision becomes dull. No longer do we see Jesus leading the way and out into the harvest field. Instead we become myopic and so focused on ourselves that our spiritual vision is destroyed.

We may need to stop and ask Jesus whether we are seeing. Are we becoming spiritually blind? It’s always good to have a spiritual check-up, or eye exam. Honest self-evaluation can lead to spiritual growth. An eye exam before the Lord can lead to correction in our spiritual vision that will clearly lead us toward participating with Christ in this world. Seeing and yet not-seeing is like having vision but wearing eye covers. That would be ridiculous so maybe it’s time to examine ourselves and see whether we are truly seeing. By the grace of God it is possible!


Lord, thank you so much for challenging us to keep our vision clear. Amen.

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