Friday, April 18, 2014

John 9:39-41 -- On Seeing

"And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
John 9:39-41

I'm not sure that the Pharisees actually meant it here, but it seems like they are asking the right question.  Are we blind also?  At the beginning of this chapter, Christ heals someone that was born blind, but many people criticized him because it was done on the Sabbath day.  Other people asked, how could a sinner do miracles like this, and they believed him.  The man who was born blind was cast out because he chose to follow Christ.  And in this context Christ says the first verse of the selection above.  In some ways it seems confusing... why would God want anyone to be blind?  I don't really think that he does, but this is symbolic of Christ's mission to illustrate and exemplify the triumph of the spiritual over the physical.  We live in a world where many people claim that the only things that are real are the things that we can physically sense, and where spiritual senses are often ignored, denied, or underdeveloped.  But Christ came and lived a life filled with things that our physical senses can't fully explain.  Our spiritual senses are needed to understand, and to follow.  And even the blind, physically, can learn to see spiritually, and those who rely wholly upon physical sight are made quite blind to spiritual things... not because God wants them to be blind, but because we all blind ourselves when we ignore our spiritual senses.
The Pharisees here ask, perhaps snarkily, whether they are blind also... in in a spiritual sense they were, but instead of saying so, Christ teaches us another lesson.  He says that if we were really spiritually blind that we wouldn't have any sin, because we wouldn't be able to tell what was right and what was wrong... but because we *choose* our own spiritual blindness and ignore our spiritual senses even when they are telling us that we are screwing up, that we are still responsible for the choices we make that go against our own consciences and offend the spirit.  Today, let's listen to God.  Let's work on developing our spiritual senses so that we aren't spiritually blind.  Let's stop ignoring everything we can't see or taste or smell, and open ourselves up to what God has to teach us about so much more we can see.

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