Day 20: Let There Be Sight!

“For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” (John 9:39)

Have you ever been frustrated at someone who cannot see what you see? Perhaps it’s something in a sports game, a movie, or a math problem. It can be maddening. But what if it’s something more serious, like their character? The truth is that we all have things about ourselves that we do not see. That’s the nature of being human. We are blind to our most glaring personal deficiencies.

In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man. Echoing the creation account of Genesis 1-2, the one who said, “Let there be light!” now says, “Let there be sight!” and takes mud and rubs it on the man’s eyes to help him see. But that’s not the only point of the story. There’s more going on than what meets the eye (see what I did there?). There is a group of people called the Pharisees who are angry that Jesus did this so they cast this healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus goes to find the man and says, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Jesus was born for judgment’s sake. You might be thinking, But I thought Jesus came to save us? Of course he did. But he cannot save without simultaneously judging. In other words, he draws a line in the sand. Those who do not see—that is, those who realize they are in the dark because of their own spiritual need—will be given the light of eternal life. On the other hand, those who see—that is, those who self-righteously think they are righteous on their own—will actually become blind.

The physically blind man in the story gets healed, but he is representing a greater reality. He illustrates that we are all spiritually blind and need to hear Jesus’ gracious word, “Let there be sight!” May he open yours eyes and mine this Christmas.

Scripture and Reflection Questions
Read John 9:1-41

  1. What surprises you about this passage? What disturbs you? What encourages you?
  2. John, the author, is trying to make a bigger point than just a physical blindness being healed. What is it? Why does it matter for you?
  3. Why are the Pharisees so angry? How would you feel if you were in their shoes? How would you feel if you were in the blind man’s shoes?
  4. Read v. 39 again. Are you one who “sees” or do you know you are blind and need healing?
  5. Jesus is clear that he came for judgment’s sake. How does this change your view of Jesus? How should this make you appreciate his grace more?

From We Look for Light: Readings and Reflections for Advent


Works that Blind and Bring Sight

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples,

You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Good works in the true Christian are designed by God to blind people from seeing me doing the work.  At the the same time, God designs the works to enable people to see his glory.

A person whom God is drawing to himself will see a good work in me and say, “Wow.  I know James.  He’s not that great.  He wouldn’t — couldn’t — do that on his own.  It must be something greater than himself.  Something more powerful, more gracious, more loving.  It can only be God.”


God Gives Sight to the Physical and Spiritual Eyes

A physically blind person is helpless. To him, the Grand Canyon is not something to be gazed at with jaw-dropping awe so that he may glory in God’s power and creation. Instead, the Grand Canyon is simply a death trap, because he can’t see the rim that, if over-stepped, would cause him to tumble down over a mile of sharp rocks and cliffs.

A spiritually blind person is helpless as well. They can’t see the person and work of Jesus Christ and that he is the supreme treasure of the universe. They can’t see God’s glory in physical creation, in his word, or in anything else. To him, everything is a death trap because without Christ, everything he does contributes to his condemnation.

The good news of the gospel is that God heals both kinds of blindness, but he heals the physical eyes as a way of showing that he alone has power over the spiritual eyes.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul talks about this spiritual blindness. He says, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” People who are not saved cannot see the glory of God. They can’t see Jesus. Their spiritual eyes have a thick film over them that causes all things spiritual to seem nonexistent.

In John 9:1-41, there is a story about Jesus healing a blind man. When they first meet, the disciples ask Jesus why this man was born blind. They think it is a particular sin of his own or his parents that caused it. Jesus tells them, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v. 3). Jesus heals the man, and when this happens, the Pharisees are outraged. The blind man tells the Pharisees that Jesus healed him and the Pharisees ask, “Where is he! How did he do it?” They repeat these questions and the man simply keeps saying, “I don’t know how…he just did it. All I know is that I was blind, but now I see.” The Pharisees are so ticked off at this point that they tell this man to leave the temple. Jesus finds the man again and asks to him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man replies, “Who is he?” Jesus says, “It’s me, the one who is talking to you.” The man believed and worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus makes a shocking statement in verse 39. “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

Jesus came to make blind people see. He came so that religious jokers, like the Pharisees, who think they see really become more blind. Only God can restore sight to physical eyes. That is from his power alone. Why would it be any different for the spiritual eyes? Certainly when Jesus said, “I came into this world, that those who do not see may see,” he meant, “I came to make people see light of the glory of myself.” Notice Jesus didn’t help the blind man see. He made him see. Jesus doesn’t help us see himself with our hearts. He makes us see himself with our hearts.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul makes this clear for us. He writes, “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God created light at the beginning of the world so that we might be able to see his glory in creation. So we know that God has power over creation and the physical body-after all, he said in Exodus 4:11, “Who makes man mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” So why would it be any different spiritually?

Blind people cannot make themselves see. They need a cornea-transplant. They need a new set of eyes. Our spiritual eyes don’t work unless God comes rushing in with his marvelous light and so graciously orchestrates a great surgery on the eyes of our hearts so that the dark film is removed and the face of Jesus is made clear.

Praise God that he does this at all, because it would be completely fair of him to never make anyone see. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).