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On Seeing

On Seeing

by Josh Caudill

In John 9, an extraordinary miracle takes place.

Jesus meets a blind man, and to shorten a story that, if you have not read it, is well worth your time, the man's eyes are fully functioning by the time all is said and done.

And the response Jesus gets is...mixed. Some are in awe at His miraculous abilities. Some recognize Him as a prophet immediately. Some prepare their next series of rhetorical attacks against Him.

As the chapter winds down, however, Jesus offers us an insightful summary of the events:
"For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” -John 9:39

I tend to read these miraculous stories and focus on the former part of this. After all, it is truly awe-inspiring to imagine what that man must have felt--blind his whole life, able to finally perceive colors, shapes, human faces.

But Jesus' miracle is also about judgment, and His judgment is convicting. When Jesus acts, certainly the blind will see, but also, the seeing will lose their vision.

What does this mean? Jesus is referring back to the initial comments His disciples make when this story begins: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” -John 9:2

Jesus' disciples could see, as far as we know. But their vision is so poor, Jesus reminds us. Jesus' disciples--the disciples of this groundbreaking, loving, and unbelievably compassionate Messiah--upon meeting a blind man, ask only one question: Who sinned?

In other words, "Who deserves the condemnation here?"

But Jesus, who sees through the lens of the heart of God, looks beyond such a simple assessment of the situation. He sees the man's heart and knows that once the man experiences His miraculous healing, he will proclaim the Good News, which is exactly what we see in John 9:11-34.

I like to read this passage as a person who sees, but this week, I pray that God would reveal to me the blindness that plagues my perception of the world and those around me. Then, prayerfully, may I receive His sight.

Grace & Peace
Josh Caudill