John 9 tells the story of the healing of the man who was born blind. Sight is a wonderful thing. I cannot imagine living in darkness my whole life, never seeing colors, never seeing the faces of the people I love, always fearful about what might be happening around me, or to me, that I can’t see. Jesus often used light/darkness/blind/seeing as analogies to illustrate spiritual truths, and He does so in this story.
John doesn’t tell us if the man asked to be healed. Jesus and His disciples were passing by, and the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned?” because there was a prevalent belief that if something bad had happened, it must be a result of sin. (Remember Job’s friends?) Jesus assured them that neither the man nor his parents sinned, but the man had been blind from birth so that the glory of God could be seen in his life. God was going to use the situation that came as a result of living in a fallen world to showcase God’s power.
Jesus spat on the ground and made a “mud pie,” which He placed on the man’s eyes. Then, He gave him instructions: “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.” At this point, the man had two choices. He could shake his head and simply wipe off the mud and walk away blind, or he could take a step of faith and obey. If he obeyed, he had nothing to lose, but everything to gain. If he disobeyed, and Jesus really did have the power to give him sight, he had everything to lose.
What did he do? So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. (9:7)
Faith in Christ for salvation is very much like this. The Spirit of God must first act on us, convicting us of our sin and showing us our need for God. We have two choices. We can believe what the Spirit is telling us and obey (repent, turn away from sin, and surrender to Jesus as Lord of our lives), or we can choose to ignore Him and walk away. If we obey, we have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. And like the man born blind, if we choose to walk away, we lose everything, both now and for eternity.
Faith plus obedience equals understanding. The blind man did not fully understand what was happening to him. He simply obeyed Jesus, and as a result, his eyes were opened. He could only see after he acted in faith, obeying what Jesus said.
We don’t have to understand everything about God to come to salvation. We don’t have to have it all figured out. It doesn’t even have to make sense to us. The only thing we must do is believe, and that belief is a verb…we must repent of our sins and turn to Christ. When we walk through the door by faith, the light comes on, and we see.
The story of the man born blind ends with a very sad statement. The Pharisees, already hating Jesus for upsetting the religious order of the day, assured Jesus that “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” (9:41)
Those who see the power and glory of God act in faith, believing what Jesus says. We have to admit we’re blind before we can see.