True vision and true blindness. Do you know Jesus?
Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. Some of the man’s neighbours—people who had known him as a blind person for all his life—were doubting and suspicious. In their unbelief they brought the man to the religious leaders (Pharisees) for assessment and verification of the ‘right way’ to interpret this strange event.
The Pharisees scornfully interrogated the man who had been blind but could now see.
Let us pick up the narrative in John 9:24-34, New Matthew Bible:
Then again they called the man who had been blind and said to him, Give God the praise. We know that this man is a sinner.
He answered and said, Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I am sure of: I was blind, and now I see.
Then they said to him again, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?
He answered them, I told you already, and you did not hear. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to be his disciples?
Then they berated him and said, You are his disciple. We are Moses’ disciples. We are sure that God spoke with Moses. This fellow, we do not know where he is from.
The man answered and said to them, This is a marvellous thing, that you do not where he is from, seeing he has opened my eyes. For we are sure that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, him he hears. Since the world began it has never been heard that any man opened the eyes of someone that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could have done nothing.
They answered and said to him, You are altogether born in sin, and do you teach us? And they cast him out.
When abuse victims see through the fog and report the abuse, the church leaders don’t believe the situation really qualifies as ABUSE and they interrogate and berate the victim… and if eventually the victim divorces the abuser, the church casts the victim out.
Yes, this does not always happen; but we know of many cases where abuse victims get excommunicated for refusing to accept the blame for the breakdown of the marriage.
In countless situations, victims have been bravely and truly stating that abusers and their enablers are profoundly guilty of hardness of heart and unbelief. But most church leaders refuse to be taught by the victims, just like the Pharisees refused to be taught by the man who had been afflicted and marginalized since birth.
(35-39) Jesus heard that they had excommunicated the man, and as soon as he found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is it, Lord, so that I can believe on him? And Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and he it is who talks with you.
And he said, Lord, I believe! and worshipped him.
Jesus said, I have come for judgment into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and those who see, may be made blind.
Judgement: blindness. (That is the marginal note on v 39 in the New Matthew Bible.)
True vision and true blindness.
It all comes down to this. Do you know Jesus Christ? Have you been born again? Do you know Jesus as a brother, friend, Savior and Lord?
If you have been taught a legalistic image of Jesus, let me encourage you to cast off and reject those false ideas.
I urge you to read the Bible for yourself, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5 NKJ) …overthrow imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (NMB).
I encourage you to ask God to reveal to you the real Jesus – the resurrected, living God-man who is fully man and fully God, the perfect and compassionate Saviour of sinful human beings.
(40-41) And some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said to him, Are we then blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.
The sin of the Pharisees was multifaceted but perhaps it can be boiled down to this:
They said “we see” while they were actively resistant to the truth.
And as leaders, they were especially culpable. In their privilege as religious leaders, they were enjoying their ability to haughtily mistreat the true followers of God who were afflicted and abused.
Jesus said of these leaders: “Their sin remains.”
So be it. Amen. May the religious leaders who are blind and resistant to the truth be pricked unto repentance by the Almighty God.
If they humble themselves and repent, if they sincerely listen to and learn from all the survivors of abuse, we will rejoice. But metanoia is needed, a complete change of mind. Giving a man like Paige Patterson the chop is good start, but it’s not enough.
If they harden their hearts and continue disdaining the cries of the victims, we will grieve, but we won’t die on the hill of trying to convert them when they have given so much evidence of their highhanded defiance of God.
If you and I are believers, we will lean trustingly on God who does not crush the bruised reed.
God does not quench a flaxen wick in any lamp which He ignited by His power.
The flaxen wick may emit a whiff of smoke. ….Will it ignite? Will it burst into flame? Will it give off a bit of smoke and then flicker, fail, die, grow cold? Will it flicker on and off, hovering on the cusp between life and death? Will it burst into flame showing a saving and trusting faith in Jesus Christ?
God will not snuff out the flickering wick of the lamp of any timid believer
God is gentle with timid believers. God is hard and harsh to those who actively resist the pricks He makes on their consciences.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a flax that begins to burn he will not quench, till he sends forth judgment unto victory. (Matt 12:20)