Sin Contributes to Spiritual Blindness

In John 9, we read about the man born blind. "Blind from Birth" is the first post in this three-part series.

Let's consider the blind man's parents and their response to inquiries of their son's healing. While they couldn't deny the miracle, they were openly afraid to confess Christ as Lord. Both the parents' response and that of the Pharisees teach us four factors that contribute to spiritual blindness.

Fear

After the blind man was healed, he went back and told his family and his neighbors what had happened to him. After he told them it was Jesus who'd healed him, his neighbors brought him to the Pharisees. They proceed to interrogated him. Instead of rejoicing, they question the man's parents. "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" (v. 9)

They confirmed his identity but refused to comment on how he'd been healed. "His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue" (v. 22).

These religious leaders used intimidation, creating a culture of fear. The blind man's parents feared the Pharisees and were afraid they would be excommunicated from the synagogue. If they were, they would be cut off from society, their friends, and their neighbors. The father would eventually lose his job. Those who were thrown out of the synagogue were left to fend for themselves, potentially leading to poverty and death.

We still struggle with what others think of us. Will we lose our friends if we share our faith? Will they abandon us? Will we end up alone? Have we chosen to fear man more than God? This fear of man contributes to man's spiritual blindness.

Misunderstanding

This healing took place on the Sabbath, which posed a big problem for the Pharisees. This violated at least three rabbinic regulations:
  1. You couldn't knead anything on the Sabbath. Jesus kneaded clay.
  2. You couldn't anoint on the Sabbath. Jesus anointed the blind man.
  3. You couldn't heal on the Sabbath. Jesus healed him
Now, these rules weren't in the Law of Moses. They were added later by the religious leaders. The problem with these religious leaders is they felt their rules were equal to God's. They believed Jesus was a sinner. They misunderstood God's Word.

How often do we confuse religious traditions with biblical mandates? How often do we assume our traditions are equal with Scripture? I'm not saying traditions are a bad thing. But many people fall into the tradition trap instead of learning and obeying the Scriptures. Having a wrong understanding of God's Word contributes to spiritual blindness.

Denial

The Pharisees had abundant evidence that Jesus had healed this man born blind. Instead of embracing it, they rejected Truth. Doesn't that sound like modern politicians? They'll have all the facts in front of them, and instead of making an informed decision, they reject it. In verse 24, the Pharisees instructed this formerly blind man to "give glory to God" and went on to say, "We know that this man is a sinner."

It's as if they're saying, "You've been healed! Praise God! Now, tell us what really happened. We know Jesus is a sinner and he couldn't have done this. So, tell us the truth. How were you healed?" The man does glorify God in his response in verse 25. "Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." He knows what happened to him and he can't deny it.

The Pharisees continue to press the matter in verse 26. "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" They're not looking for more evidence so they can believe in Jesus as the Messiah. They're trying to find evidence to discredit him.

I love how the man replies. He says in verse 27. "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?" The Pharisees become furious and in verse 28 say, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."

In verses 30-33, the healed man completely debunks the Pharisees and states that Jesus must be from God. In verse 33, he says,"If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. The Pharisees further insult him and throw him out of the synagogue. They didn't look for more evidence to clear up doubt. They didn't want to know who Jesus really was. They refused to accept the truth. Denying the evidence that Christ is Lord is a contributing factor to spiritual blindness.

Pride

The Pharisees prided themselves on their spiritual knowledge. They thought they knew everything there was to know about the Scriptures. How could they possible learn from this blind illiterate beggar? How ironic! The blind man could see Jesus clearly because he was no longer spiritually blind. Yet, the so-called spiritual leaders were in complete darkness.

Their pride blinded them from seeing Jesus as Lord. Spiritual pride is one of the main reasons people do not come to Christ. They think they've done enough good to get into heaven. They don't see their need of a Savior. But the starting point to receiving true spiritual knowledge is to admit we're a sinner and desperately need Jesus to save us.

Fear of men, misunderstanding God's Word, denying who Christ is, and pride all contribute to spiritual blindness. These sins and others keep us from seeing Christ. The only way anyone can see the Light of Christ is if Jesus gives sight to the spiritually blind.