“He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)
We humans like to twist things to fit meanings that make us feel better, the “silver lining in every cloud” or the half full glass of water. The man speaking to the Pharisees that day when he said those words was attempting, in a polite and reverential way to say, “You keep asking me the same questions, and I keep giving you the same answer, get it in your head, I was once blind, now I am not.”
I see little fault in the analogy that the average Christian uses of this account in the Scriptures here, the fact that since they have come to Christ they can see clearly now, although most of them would use it in such a way that would speak of their lives before Christ and after, which at its roots perhaps that is part of what these verses are about. “Jesus of Nazareth has given me my sight, now I can see my sinful nature, now I can see that this world is an evil and rebellious place, I can see, and I don’t like what I see.”
But in the context of this verse, it is the hard-hearted, self-centered, power hungry religious leaders of the Jewish people that saw the power slipping from their hands, and with every miracle the Lord performed, with every word that was spoken, they saw a little more slip away. “Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” (John 9:24) They cried, they threatened him, they threatened his parents, they gave cause for all the people to fear. “Obey, or be cast out of the temple,” was the same as being sent out of the presence of God to them.
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Dan. 6:10) David said, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4) “But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.” (Ezra 3:12)
The house of God had been turned into a religious icon, and those in authority supposed within themselves to hold the power over the people to either allow or disallow access to the Most High. Sound familiar? Sound like a lot of religious cults of our day?
“Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.” (John 9:28) “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matt. 3:9) “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matt. 15:14)
I have found over the years that it does little good to attempt to bring those blind people to the truth, if the Words of God offered to them in context, and with the subject matter at the forefront has no effect upon them, they are indeed blind. I have been told that my appearance, my body language and the intonation and inflection of my voice at times frightens people, and well it should those who are blind, better me in this life by the power of the Holy Spirit than those fateful words that most will hear, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41)
It is God alone that can give sight to the blind, and He has chosen to do so by the foolishness of preaching, (1 Cor. 1:21) but that does not mean that those He has sent out into the world to proclaim His love, grace and mercy are fools, far from it. They were not only once blind, but have been given sight that realizes truth, recognizes His supreme authority over all creation. They know that hell is a real place. They believe us to be too adamant, and so see us as contentious, as overzealous, instead of understanding the last part of Luke 7:47, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Along with “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)
We do not have 20/20 vision, far from it, if you ask any of us you will hear the words of Paul repeated, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15)
The man who received his sight that day, was starting to get upset with those religious hypocrites, and in the politest way possible he let them know that. Are you that much in love with the Savior? Or has the politeness, never offending, and just being kind all the time overshadowed that fire for His truth, that zeal that should be in your heart that righteousness and the glory of God should be the path of all men.