(A Revision of Sermon Preached by Pastor on 30th May 2021)

Text: John 9:13-38

Sight is critical to the function of man. While there are creatures that rely on their other
senses such as smell or sound to get a sense of their environment, man seem to rely chiefly
on sight to perceive their surroundings. Indeed without sight, the things we do daily will
not be easily achievable. Even walking from place to place will be a chore. Nevertheless,
as sight comes easily to the majority of us, we fail to appreciate its importance and take it
for granted. It is only later in life when our sight grows dim that we begin to yearn for the
time when our sight was clear.

The topic for our concern though is not about physical sight but rather spiritual. Physical
sight allows us to perform our tasks while on this earth. However, our time on earth here is
limited. As every man is a sinner, it is inevitable that he will have to face death. As the
Scripture proclaims, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a). No amount of physical
sight can save one from eternal condemnation in hell and the lake of fire when our time on
earth is up.

On the other hand, spiritual sight allows us to perceive spiritual things and the way to
heaven. It will point us to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to this world to die for
our sins. He was nailed to the cross, shedding His precious blood for the remission of sins.
He died on the cross and then was buried in a tomb. However, as He knew no sin, death
had no power over Him. Thus, on the third day He rose from the dead and is now ascended
to heaven, seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. Spiritual sight will lead us to
see that Christ is our Saviour. We will repent of our sins and receive Him as our Lord and
Saviour. We will now be able to see the truth and understand it.
Alas, not every man desires true sight, as seen in the passage today. The difference
between the ones that had true sight and the ones who had false sight is laid bare before
our eyes.

Seeing and Yet Blind

The first group of people were those who were seeing and yet blind. Ironically, many of
the Pharisees fall into this category. Who were the Pharisees? They were the foremost
religious teachers of the day who took pride in the outward observance of God’s law.
However, there was no true love for God and His Word. They only wanted to look good
before men, and have a hold over their lives.

A controversy arose when a man who was born blind, was found to be seeing. This man
had earlier met Jesus along the way. Jesus anointed the man’s eyes with clay and told him
to wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. Lo and behold, the man came away seeing.
However, this meant that he did not see Jesus face to face. Thus, he was not able to answer
where Jesus was when others came asking for His whereabouts.

The Pharisees immediately took offense of the miracle. They claimed that Jesus could not
be of God because He did not keep the Sabbath. Their man-made tradition demanded a
legalistic observance of the Sabbath’s command to not do any work. They could not
understand that the Sabbath was made for man (Mk. 2:27), and that works of necessity,
kindness and mercy was permitted on the Sabbath. Thus, they erred on this count.

Moreover, had the Pharisees humbled themselves before the Scriptures, they would have
known clearly that Jesus was the Messiah. Isaiah 35:5 declared that the Messiah will
open the eyes of the blind. Until the time of the earthly ministry of Christ, there was no
record of anyone born blind that was made to see (see v.32). Thus, these “foremost”
religious teachers should have known that Jesus is the Messiah who has come to save
them from their sins.

Why then were they not able to see this? This is due to the hardness and pride of their
hearts. To receive Jesus as Christ would mean that they will lose their place and power
over the children of Israel. This was simply unacceptable to them. The popularity of
Christ meant that He was someone who has to be gotten rid of and destroyed. Thus, they
did not have true sight.

The blindness of their hearts is revealed in a fairly lengthy discourse of their rejection of
the man that was born blind. Firstly, they tried to deny that he was born blind. However,
when the man’s parents testified that he was indeed born blind, they tried to get him to
say that Christ was a sinner. Their repeated questions left the healed man incredulous, “I
have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will
ye also be his disciples?” (Jn. 9:27) When the Pharisees realised that they could not beat
the sound reasoning of the man from the Scriptures, they resorted to ad hominem attacks
and finally cast him as a sinner. Such is the conduct of those who are spiritually blind.
They would refuse to see. Their questions were not asked to seek the truth but to deny
and destroy it. Thus, they will not receive the light of Christ which can give them true

Was Blind but Now Seeing

On the other hand, we have a much shorter account of the healed man when he met with
Jesus. When Jesus asked him whether he believed in the Son of God, he immediately
asked Christ to tell Him who exactly is this Son of God. This was not a question
which was calculated to destroy, but one with a spirit of earnest seeking. When Christ
revealed that He is the Son of God, the man did not doubt His testimony but immediately
worshipped Him. This act of worship showed that He understood that Christ was not only
fully man, but God Himself. His true sight meant that he need not ask further questions.
Lord, I believe”. Such are the ones who have true sight.

Herein lies the irony of the passage. The religious teachers were supposed to be the ones
who know the Scripture. The presumption was that they can see spiritual things most
clearly. Sadly, they were grossly blind. On the other hand, we have the man who was
born blind. However, at the end of the narrative, he was not just able to see physically but
spiritually. He had the true sight which others did not have.

The renowned hymnwriter, Fanny Crosby, was made blind when she was six weeks old
due to a medical malpractice. One day, a Scottish minister commented that it was a pity
that God had not given her sight. She answered, “If I had been given a choice at birth, I
would have asked to be blind… for when I get to Heaven, the first face I will see will be
the One who died for me.” She was one who understood the value of true sight.
Dear friends, will you not come to Jesus Christ, who will give you true sight? Do not be
blind but seeing.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew