One of the most famous phrases in the Bible comes from John 9:25;
…But I know this, I was blind and now I can see!
We’ve heard that phrase so many times, but it wasn’t until recently when I was reading through John, that I really and truly read the story that contained those words and understood that phrase in context. I thought it would be fun to write up a little bit on it.
I was blind
We pick up in John 9 where at this point in Jesus’ ministry the Pharisees were already after Jesus. He had been performing miracles on the Sabbath, speaking heresy in their minds by telling about being the Son of God and such, and in general usurping their power and control of the Jewish people through their religion. One day, while out walking Jesus comes across a blind man when his disciples ask a question that would have not been uncommon in their day”
“Teacher, ” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?”
Back in their day, a common belief in Jewish culture was that suffering was the result of some great sin, perhaps even of your ancestors. In this case where the man was born blind, it would have been thought that his parents or his grandparents or somewhere down the line committed a sin that punishment was being carried out on this man with his blindness.
But Jesus responds in a way that teaches about faith and glorifies God;
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins, ” Jesus answered. “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him.” – John 9:3
Jesus then proceeds to heal the man of his blindness. After the man was healed, his neighbors and others didn’t believe that it was the same man and when asked who he was, he emphatically says “I am the same man!” And when they ask who did this to him, he replies;
“The man they call Jesus made mud and smoothed it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash off the mud.’ I went and washed and now I can see!”
Can you imagine how ecstatic this man must have been? Here was someone who supposedly had been blind since birth. He had never seen the world and suddenly after years of living in darkness, living as a beggar, he now can see the vibrant colors and sights of this world. I can hear him now as he runs down the street, “I can see!! I can see!! I can see!!”
Put to the question
So here is this man, who blind from birth can now see. He’s shouting from the rooftops that he can see and that he Jesus had performed this miracle. He was taken to the Pharisees. I can imagine being brought before the Pharisees was not a pleasant experience. I can imagine being led to the temple, coming before old priests in their stuffy robes, who held much power in the spiritual lives of the Jewish people. Coming before them, led almost as a criminal before judges and being grilled for hours with questions.
You see the Pharisees were famous for their great wisdom and knowledge; however, while the Pharisees conducted investigations and debated about Jesus, people were being healed and lives changed. This was a huge threat to their power, in fact the Pharisees skepticism into the true nature of Jesus was not based on lack of evidence, but more on jealousy of Jesus’ popularity and influence on the people….something that was usually reserved for them.
So this man was led before the Pharisees and questions I suspect for hours. The man kept giving them true answers, but it was not the answer they wanted to hear, so they kept asking the questions over and over. Finally, for not the first time, they called the man before them and said;
“Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner.”
They wanted to hear the man confirm what they wanted to hear. But the man, who had been healed, could only say;
“I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this; I was blind and now I can see!”
At this point, he had heard this line of questioning over and over again. He did not know how or why he had been healed, but he knew that his life was completely changed and he was not afraid to tell the truth.
And now I can see
When God works in our lives, we won’t know all the answers of why. When God performs miracles in our lives it is important to share Christ with others. You don’t have to have all the answers to do so. This blind man knew nothing of why or how Jesus did what he did, he just knew he did it and now he can see! He told the truth of what had occurred and God did the rest.
Shortly thereafter, the man was evicted from the temple…not a good thing to have happen back in that time. But Jesus found him again and had this great exchange.
When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
The man answered, “Who is he, sir, because I would like to.”
“You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
“Yes, Lord,” the man said, “I believe!” And he worshiped Jesus.
This man believed. The longer he experienced his new life through Christ, the more confident he became in Jesus. He gained not only his physical healing but also new spiritual sight.
If we want to know more about Jesus, keep walking with him. The longer we walk with Christ, the better we will understand who he is. And then we too can shout from the rooftops, “I was blind and now I can see!”