What the Healing of the Blind Man is Really About

There are 41 verses in this chapter, how many of them are about the healing itself? Two. The point of the chapter is not that Jesus heals (although that is wonderful); it is about light and darkness, blindness and seeing. It is wonderfully written to juxtapose what unbelief (blindness) looks like and what belief (seeing) looks like.

Pharisees                                              Blind Man

Jesus is not from God                         Jesus is a prophet

He doesn’t keep our rules                 He comes from God

Jesus is a sinner                                    He is the Son of Man

We are disciples of Moses!               Lord

You were born in sin (not us)         I believe!

We are the experts!

Could the differences be any starker? Light/darkness. Blindness/sight. The twist here is like the movie, The Sixth Sense. The ones everyone thought could see (including themselves) turn out to be the ones who are actually blind. The one who was actually blind turns out to be the only one who can see.

The purpose of the healing of the blind man was to illustrate that Jesus is the Light of the World. His light blinds some and causes others to see.

That is the key here. What is the difference between those who are spiritually blind and those who can spiritually see? Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4-6,

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

Remember the progression of the blind man. Healer. Prophet. Son of Man. Lord. Believe. The light of understanding and faith unveiled Jesus’ true identity. But for the Pharisees, the light blinded them and their willful and almost humorous unwillingness to believe shows just how blind they are. That is the meaning of verse 39, Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

“He is the real light which shows up the hidden motives and the darkest secrets of men. The inevitable consequence of His presence in the world is a separation between those who claim to have religious insight though they are in fact spiritually blind, and those who, conscious that they are blinded by sin, pray that they may be giving the sight of which the sin inherent in their nature has robbed them.” (Tasker, John, p. 121.)

Look at the progression of the blind man:

Prophet                      I admire Him

Sent from God         I think He is more than human

Son of Man               I believe He is God

Lord                            I submit and personally believe in Him

I am a part of cohort of pastors that meets in Dallas. These pastors all pastor churches our size and larger and are around my age. We get together every six months. I was there this past week. On my way home I had a businessman sit next to me on the plane for the one-hour flight from Dallas to Kansas City. Right away we got to talking. We started with football. He was from Kansas City, so we talked Chiefs and Bears. We got rolling along pretty good as airplane conversations go; this in spite of him using more profanity in that one hour than I’ve heard in the last decade. Nearly every sentence and every other word or so was bleep…bleep…bleep…English word…bleep…bleep…bleep.

He eventually asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I told him I was a pastor. I have found most people can magically turn off the profanity. It didn’t stop this guy at all. It opened him up. He had gone through a divorce recently. He had a college roommate recently commit suicide. This went on for a while. He went on to tell about another buddy. Remember, this whole time it’s… Blankety blank, blankety blank. This buddy of his was really struggling. He said, “I told him to do what I’ve done. He needed to go to church.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or not. Go to church? You’ve used Jesus’ name as profanity multiple times in the last ten minutes but the solution is to go to church?

Jesus is the Light of the World meaning that the light of His life and teaching and death on the cross for sin – the whole thing unveils Him, but also unveils us. It shows us for who we really are. By His light do we see Him as prophet, God, and Lord leading to “I believe” OR are we blinded to His majesty and refuse to submit to His Lordship? That’s seeing. Can you see Him for who He is today? Do the words of the formerly blind man resonate in your heart, “Lord, I believe!”

For believers here, where are we in the story? Disciples? Nope. Townsfolk? Nope. Pharisees? I hope not. Each Christian here is illustrated in this story by the blind man. We are born spiritually blind and without the light of the gospel of Jesus, we would die blind to Him. But Jesus is a healer and is light and He has given light and sight to all who see Him as prophet, God, and Lord. Christian, I want you to see yourself in the story. A beggar. Without resource. Without hope. And one day, by the hearing of the gospel, Jesus came along your path and caused you to see. Let’s rejoice in a Savior who puts mud on the eyes of the blind and causes us to see.

 Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound – that saved a wretch like me!/I once was lost but now am found/Was blind but now I see.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

©Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

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