As He was traveling, Jesus encountered a man who had been blind from birth. Everyone wanted to know the cause of his blindness—“Was it his sin or his parents’?” Jesus told them the man’s loss of vision wasn’t a punishment for wrongdoing, but was an opportunity for the works of God to be displayed. So Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud, wiped it on the man’s eyes and told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man did, and of course, he was healed.
But the story doesn’t end there. It just so happened that Jesus healed this guy on the Sabbath, so the Pharisees had to get involved. They questioned the man who had been healed, his parents, and even Jesus in an attempt to discredit Him, to condemn and accuse of heresy. Puffed up with self-righteousness, judgment, criticism, and pretention, the Pharisees refused to accept the testimony of the man who was healed.
Because they did not want to believe the truth, they disputed every claim and found fault with each person brave enough to defend Jesus’ power. This man who had never seen anything, ever, stood before them, looked them in the eye, and saw straight through them. “I have told you already and you do not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?”
The Pharisees heard the Truth but refused to believe. They were too busy looking for fault, watching for mistakes, seeing the past, visualizing sin—even stuff that wasn’t there—in an effort to take the focus off themselves. And that’s the kind of sight that causes blindness—the kind that sees everything wrong instead of looking for what’s right, the kind that finds fault in everyone else but never turns on the searchlight in its own soul, the kind that stares right past Jesus and glares in judgment at the lives of others.
The sight that causes blindness is pride.
And it’s dangerous.
Because it often goes undetected. It gets progressively worse. One day you wake up in darkness and don’t even realize it—you think the Light’s still on. You can see clearly what you perceive about others, but you’re blind to yourself, to your own need of Him.
This has happened to me more often than I’d like to admit. Disillusioned by the behaviors or attitudes of others, I lose focus and gaze right past Jesus. Instead of looking into the mirror of His word and measuring myself by His standard, I begin to compare myself to others, thinking I’m in better shape than I really am. How could I be so blind? How could I ever think that measuring myself against any other standard than His would reveal truth?
Only Jesus can restore vision.
The only way to prevent blindness is to stay in His word, to view His guidelines, to look at our reflection through the mirror of His grace. When we are truly focused on Him, we will be so busy applying His vision correction to our own blindness that we won’t have time to look for fault in others. We will be so mesmerized by His grace and love and mercy, by envisioning His sacrifice for us, that we won’t be able to take our eyes off Him.
We are all in need of grace. We are all in need of a Savior. We are all on level ground at the foot of the cross.
Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” – John 9:39-41 (NIV)