Physical Blindness Vs. Spiritual Blindness

Q. Can you please explain John 9:41?

A. To understand the meaning of John 9:41 we have to back up to John 9:39 and consider the context of the chapter. Jesus had healed a man born blind and the Pharisees were upset because He did it on the Sabbath. In John 9:39 he said,

“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

In saying this He was comparing physical blindness to spiritual blindness. He came to heal the physically blind, as He had just done. But His coming would bring spiritual blindness to those who didn’t believe in Him.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” (John 9:40).

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 9:41).

If they hadn’t been intellectually capable of understanding who He was, their lack of understanding would not be considered a sin. But they held themselves out as experts in Scriptural matters, and yet they did not believe Jesus was the Messiah their own Scriptures had foretold. Therefore their rejection of Him was considered to be a sin. God had made the coming Messiah so clear to them that He considered unbelief to be disobedience.

Their continuing refusal to accept Him led to Jesus pronouncing a spiritual blindness upon the nation that continues to this day (Luke 19:41-44).

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