Blind But Now I See…

Fourth Sunday In Lent | March 22, 2020

Ban, Shigeru, 1957-. “Cardboard Cathedral,” transitional Christchurch Cathedral, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved March 20, 2020]. Original source:

1 Samuel 16:1-13 • Psalm 23 • Ephesians 5:8-14 • John 9:1-41

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!

His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”

But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”

10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”

11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!”

12 “Where is he now?” they asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

13 Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, 14 because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. 15 The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them.

17 Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”

The man replied, “I think he must be a prophet.”

18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”

26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”

27 “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”

30 “Why, that’s very strange!” the man replied. “He healed my eyes, and yet you don’t know where he comes from? 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”

34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”

37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”

38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.

39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”

41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

John 9 New Living Translation (NLT)

I really hope that you took the time to read through the entire 41 verses above. If you didn’t, go back and read through them. This is a truly amazing story. One of the themes that John likes to contrast is this light vs. dark. In the previous chapter, Jesus has announced that He was the light of the world.

In this passage, Jesus teaches his disciples about spiritual blindness. His disciples as the question, “Why was this man born blind?”

Jesus replies, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” Jesus then admonishes his disciples that the night is coming – and that we must quickly carry out our assigned tasks. Wow! So relevant to our time today.

Yesterday, the state of Pennsylvania was essentially closed and today New York told all non-essential workers to stay home. These are peculiar times indeed. I know that I along with many of my co-laborers in the gospel are trying to figure out how we minister in these days. We have no idea how long this will last.

Yet even in these times we are called to be Children of Light – just as Jesus is the light of the world. We should take Jesus’ words to heart…to use this time…so that the power of God may be seen in us – the Church. We must quickly carry out our tasks.

The Lord has been speaking to me about obedience. One of the things that was required of the blind man was to go wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Immediately, he was able to see. If had not been obedient, he would have stayed in his blinded state. We need to be obedient in order to be faithful to God. Obedience is the key to unlocking faith. There are times that I wonder if that’s not the reason that the church at times is powerless.

Later in the story, the Pharisees find out that Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus has already caused quite a stir and this healing adds fuel to the fire. The Pharisees track down the former blind man and question him, not once, not twice, even question his parents and then question him a third time.

Remember that Jesus said that this happened so the power of God could be seen in this man? One of the things that is very clear is that the blind man – as a result of the healing – had a God-encounter. I love his answer when the Pharisees ask, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.” Wow! strong words from the Pharisees.

The former blind man answers, “I don’t know whether he is a sinner, but I know this: I was blind but now I can see!” He really didn’t care how Jesus healed him, he only knew that he was healed. He continues with his testimony until the Pharisees throw him out. Accusing him of being a sinner.

The blind man has already had a God-encounter when he meets Jesus again. Jesus asks if he believes in the Son of Man. The man wants to know who he is and Jesus reveals Himself to the man and he becomes a Christ-follower. Jesus commends the man for his spiritual sight. That day, he not only received his physical sight but spiritual sight. What a day!

There is no great witness than that of a changed life. The blind man’s life was changed in an instant and he became an instant witness. Each one of us who have followed Jesus at one time were blind in our sins, but when Jesus was revealed to us our eyes were opened. Because of that we should shout it from the rooftops, “But I know this: I was blind, but now I see!”

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