The Cure for Spiritual Blindness – Episode 32



The world is a dark place. Just today, as I was preparing this lesson, a man drove a van up Las Ramblas in Barcelona and killed 13 people and injured another 100.

On any given day, terrible things done to others. Child abuse, rapes, murders. The world is a dark place.

But it is also dark in your local community, where good citizens go about their business doing no harm to others. It is dark because they are blind, spiritually blind, and they move through life lost and hopeless.

Today we will look at the healing of the man born blind. His blindness is both physical and spiritual.

Turn to John 9 and let us look at the sixth sign performed by Jesus.

So what do we need to learn today? Our takeaway is this. Jesus is the only light that can drive away the darkness that surrounds us.

Let’s read John 9:1-7

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

Like the paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus sees this man and decides on His own to heal him. The man did not cry out for Christ. Rather Jesus takes the initiative. We would call this a sovereign decision. Jesus is God and as God, He can make such decisions.

The disciples ask about the reason for the man’s blindness. The Jews at the time of Jesus assumed all suffering was due to sin. But this is not the case. Just read the book of Job. Not all suffering is due to sin.

Another assumption we often make is that the man was blinded by God so that later at this moment, God could heal him and get the glory.

The Greek here is flexible and I believe that God looked at this man and decided to change the man’s situation. God decided to heal the man and rightly get the glory.

Jesus then makes the statement that gives us the focus of our study. He says, in verses 4 and 5, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus has work to do, which is directed by God the Father. His time is limited on this earth and while He has time He is going to declare His light, which is the gospel.

Our time is limited as well, my friends. Any moment God can call us home. But some of you are saying, “No too soon, I have things to do.” And I would say to that “Yes you do.” You have family, friends, and neighbors to share the gospel with.

So Jesus heals this man and the man then bumps into some of his neighbors.

You can read John 9:8-12 on your own.

These neighbors knew this blind man.  But when they see him healed some do not recognize him.

Why don’t they recognize him? All their lives and all of his life they had seen him live and function as a blind man. Maybe he walked with a stick like some blind do today, and now he is walking without this tool.

Before, his eyes were dead in appearance. Now they have life. The man had been changed by this healing. And the people struggled with these changes.

You, too, were changed when you met Jesus. Not necessarily in a physical sense, but in a spiritual. And when this happened some said to you, “You’re different. You’ve changed.” Some of you lost friends and even family because of the change Christ worked in you. This man’s situation reminds me of my former change. And it should remind you of how Jesus changed you.

After meeting his neighbors, the healed man is brought before the Pharisees. They debate with the man, his parents, and the man again in verses 13-34. This debate is confrontational, it is exciting, but most of all it is sad. It is sad because the Pharisees show themselves to be blind.

Let us start with John 9:13-17

They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”

16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”

Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

Many of the Pharisees are upset because Jesus broke the Sabbath by healing the man. He broke it by spitting on the ground and using His spit to make clay. It is a violation to knead clay on the Sabbath.

This divides the Pharisees. Some say He cannot be from God because He broke the Sabbath. Others say He must be from God because He heals the blind. Eventually, the Sabbath lovers win out.

Next, they bring in the parents. The parents testified that this is the son and that he was blind since birth. But that is all they say because the Pharisees threatened to excommunicate anyone who follows Jesus. Excommunication from the Synagogue would be a serious thing. So they go silent.

And then for the final exchange, the Pharisees bring the man back. Look at verses 24-34. As I read I want you to take notice of the healed man. He is capable of standing his ground. He is not intimidated by the educated Pharisees.

So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”

27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”

28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.

Did you see that? This blind beggar is well spoken and has a strong backbone. He never wavers. He never falters.

We should be so bold. When called to defend your faith, do you falter or do you stand strong? This man stood strong.

Charles Stanley, writing for In Touch Magazine listed eight reasons why your faith may falter. Here are the eight:

  1. A situation goes against our human reasoning.
  2. We allow feelings to overcome our faith.
  3. We don’t see God in certain circumstances.
  4. We listen to negative counsel.
  5. We focus on our circumstances.
  6. We may be ignorant of God’s ways.
  7. We might feel guilt over past sins.
  8. We could be listening to the devil.

I know these 8 went by quickly. I will include them in the show notes. So go to wakefieldbible.org/podcast and look for episode 32.

Many of Dr. Stanely’s observations apply to this man’s situation, but he does not falter. He stands firm.

Now we return to the great purpose of this healing.

Let’s look at verses 35-38 first.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”

38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

Here is a short application of these verses that are important to our overall lesson. Jesus takes the time to share the gospel with just one person. All along it was about bringing this one man from darkness to light.

Often churches and ministries get taken up with large group evangelism – rallies and revivals. I wonder how many people truly get saved through such. Not as many as we think.

Most salvations happen when one person shares Christ with one other person. How were you led to Christ? Most of you through the witness of one other person.

God has called you and me to share the light. To share the gospel with others. This week why not start with just one person.

As you and I share, we need to be aware of the three types of spiritually blind people. When you share the light of Jesus with others, they will be blind. We need to understand how they may be blind.

First, here are some general principles about the unsaved spiritually blind.

  1. Someone who is spiritually blind does not see Christ for who He is. Jesus is God. And the spiritually blind cannot see Him as God.
  2. Also the spiritually blind cannot understand Scripture. They can read it and even make some sense of it, but they cannot understand it. Why? Because to understand the Bible you must have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Those that are spiritually blind either do not have the Holy Spirit or have so quenched Him that there is little understanding. Hmmm?
  3. The spiritually blind love the sinful world or are heavily drawn to it. Here is 2 Corinthians 4:4. “…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

So those three things identify the most of the spiritually blind. These spiritually blind are unsaved.  But there is an another type of spiritually blind person. Look at 2 Peter 1:8-9

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

So the second type of spiritually blind you may encounter is a saved person who is blind. This happens when a believer stops walking in the Spirit. They no longer live as it is described in 2 Peter 1:5-7. Like the unbeliever, they are drawn toward the world. And, although they are saved they have grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit to the point that Scripture rarely speaks to them.

According to 2 Peter they have become blind, or at best shortsighted, which means they live only in the present and only for themselves. And they begin to forget or neglect what God has done for them.

The final form of spiritual blindness is what Jesus is addressing at the end of John 9:39-41

And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

The Pharisees suffer from a form of blindness that is unique to any religious person, especially if their religion has a measure of the truth in it.

The Pharisees knew the Scripture, they had an understanding of God and His Bible. But they could not come to accept Jesus as God and Savior.

I bet you know people like this. Their religion gets in the way of faith. What can we do? Really the answer is the same no matter which type of blind person we encounter.

  1. Pray for them.
  2. Share the gospel with them.
  3. Allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

Only God can remove the blindness.

Now I wonder, do you see yourself in any of these three? Do you reject Jesus as God? Does the Bible not speak to you?

My friend, you need to quickly, even now ask God to save you. Believe on Jesus Christ. Trust in Him. Ask God to open your eyes.

When God opens your eyes you will see Jesus as God. You will see your sin. And you will see that only Jesus can save you.

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Resources

8 Reasons Our Faith Falters, by Dr. Charles Stanley, https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/8-reasons-our-faith-falters