“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

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