36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39 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.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Jesus reveals Himself as both the one to give sight and the one to blind.
I think Jesus is arguing here that if the Pharisees were to admit their blindness, that is confess that they could not see, that in that confession would be the beginnings of real sight. The Pharisees started off on the wrong foot; they insisted that they had the spiritual sight, and thus, they remained blind. Irony is replete throughout chapter 9, that a man who was blind should be given sight, and the great spiritual leaders of the nation, who should have seen the Christ, were but as blind fools.
I find a curious parallel to election in this passage. Did Jesus not seek out the former blind man? Did Jesus not reveal his identity to the former blind man? But did not also the blind man believe? I see man’s response to the sovereign election of God here. I think it is precisely here where the Pharisee’s become blind. For did they not see the same miracle? Did they not validate the miracle by following the blind man home, and checking with neighbors and parents? And did they believe? The answer is in Acts 7:51, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit.”
“Unless I go away, the Counselor will no come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” So I see from this passage that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world. Is it not the fault of these Pharisees who resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and doom themselves to the judgment?
John 3:17 tells me that Jesus came not to condemn the world. Jesus came not to condemn, but rather to save. I think that speaking of Adam and his sin, it is evident that condemnation was already come upon the world, and Jesus came like a breath of fresh pure air, to remove all that condemnation, if we will but believe. The same passage in John reminds me that “men loved darkness for their deeds were evil.” The enigma which I cannot fathom is the greatness of God is so much greater than all of our choices, for evil or for good. In plotting and trying to rid the world of Jesus, the Bible clearly says: “they did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”
Psalm 2 talks about the rulers of the earth gathering together against the Lord, against his Anointed One. Nearly 3,000 years ago, I believe that God is foreshadowing the rise of the nations against Israel. Nations will gather, and will try to seize the land of Israel, and imagine in their vain plotting that they have sufficient strength to bring their plans to fruition. What does Psalm 2 say? “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” My friend, there is no way that we can ever devise or plan or bring about something that the Lord does not foreknow. He will not be surprised on that day, or any other. The only question is will you be surprised on that day? This is what will happen beginning in Israel, but spreading outward throughout the world: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child.” (Zech. 12:10)
“Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 10:7) Which are you, like the blind man that now has two sights, or like the religious guides that found themselves blind, because they hardened their hearts?
Grace Greater Than Our Sin
1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
2. Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
3. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide
Whiter than snow you may be today.
4. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Lyrics: Julia Harriet Johnston