Jesus said, “For judgement I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (verse 39)
This whole story starts with a blindman at its very centre. The man was born into darkness, unable to see for a single day of his life. But Jesus, light of the world, puts mud on the man’s eyes as salve and tells him to go wash it off. In obedience, the blindman goes, presumably led by others, to the Pool of Siloam and washes. He comes home seeing!
But physical sight is only one part of this story. Swirling around Jesus is a veritable storm of blindness, people, willfully or not, unable to see who he is. The blindman’s healing occurred on a Sabbath and the religious leaders can’t see past it. So, they perceive Jesus to be outside the circle, disconnected from God, of unknown origin.
Meanwhile, the formerly blindman, now seeing, grows in perception. Having experienced the healing, he perceives Jesus simply to be a prophet (verse 17). Then sight grows and he affirms him to be a worker of miracles (verse 25). Later, when pushed, sight sharpens further and he owns Jesus to be sent from God (verse 33). Finally, face to face with Jesus himself, hearing his own self-declaration to be “Son of Man” (a clear messianic title), the man embraces the full perception, and worships Jesus.
But the Pharisees and others remain blind. They claim to see, but it’s clear they don’t.
At the end of his record of Jesus’ public ministry, just prior to the cross, John uses a quotation from the prophet Isaiah to summarize the situation:
“He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them.” (John 12:40, quoting Isaiah 6:10)
This is the circumstance of those who will not allow their eyes to be opened.
But the story of the blindman, taking up a whole chapter so we don’t miss it, has already spoken the word of grace. When we submit our eyes to the Master’s touch and respond to his command, getting washed clean, clear-sightedness opens up to us, and grows.
Eyes on Jesus – that’s where we’re meant to be.
Dear Lord, thank you that you sought this man out, touched his eyes, gave him sight, and revealed yourself. Thank you that this is your heart.
Dear Lord, you who are the light of the world, come shine afresh on me. Open my eyes wider yet to your glory. Dispel the darkness. Grow my perception of who you are.
I welcome your touch.
Reflect: Are you aware of clouded sight in your own life at the moment? Perhaps an area in which you’re blind to the Lord’s working, or can’t clearly perceive his grace? If so, invite the Lord’s healing touch.
If you’re unaware, ask him if there’s a need for perception to grow.