Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, “We see,” your guilt remains. (John 9:41 ESV)
While reading John 9 for sermon prep I was totally assaulted by the last verse. I couldn’t believe how offended I was after I read it. I felt frustrated that I hadn’t thought about the principle Jesus was sharing and I felt disgusted with myself when I realized how “guilty I’d become.
This verse falls at the end of one of the most popular stories of Christ healing someone. He had healed the blind man with some dirt and some spit. Gross! Then the blind guy runs off to celebrate his healing, and all he gets is a bunch of faithless doubters telling him his healer can’t be legit, he must be a sinner. The guy’s biggest critics were the people in the church (at that time, the pharisees, today probably we ministers.)
These pharisees were the ones who would check out everyone and make sure their blessing or healing was truly from God. They should be excited about a guy who was born blind being healed right? No, of course not. They were too distracted by the fact that Jesus had “plowed the earth” in order to heal him. The letter of the law had become so important that Jesus’ simple act of gathering dirt to spit on made him a sinner.
This sounds so crazy to us doesn’t it? “Picking up some dirt, a sin? Come on, seriously? As crazy as it sounds we are as guilty of this as the pharisees in this story. No, we don’t freak out about the Sabbath, but we are so quick to judge that we often ignore what God is doing. We will see people doing their best to live for God, and instead of being excited that they have made the decision, we wonder when they’re going to clean up their life. Yes, we are called to “make disciples,” but we aren’t called to expect those new to salvation to miraculously change every behavior. Like the pharisees, we’re so caught up with what’s “unbecoming” for Christians that we let their smoking, cursing, or the fact that they watch rated R movies keep us from celebrating their new-found salvation.
My advice to the church…STOP IT! Our job is to extend God’s love and let His grace eventually change them. Let’s love people and celebrate the decision they’ve made. Then maybe people will actually become disciples instead of feeling like they have to change everything they’ve done wrong first.
Secondly, fellow believers, verse 41 reminds us that we are the ones who are blind because we miss the miracle of salvation because we’re waiting on a miracle of sanctification, which scripture tells us is a process. Let’s open our eyes and see Christ for who He is! Our salvation, our redeemer, the righteousness of all who believe.
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.