Seeing is Not Believing

(John 9:18-24)

blind man
The blind shall see and those who see become blind.
Photo taken by Adrian Van Leen

For the past few posts I have been working through the events surrounding the healing of a man born blind and the issues, implications and discussions that it evoked. In this section we see two strong issues come out of this healing, one from the Pharisees and one from those they questioned.

How often have you spoken to people and they did not believe what you had to say? And how often did they say, “Seeing is believing?” Well in this section of scripture we see that even when some people see the truth, when it is right before their eyes and even if it were to slap them in the face, they still will not believe. Thus in matters of the Lord and Christianity we find that seeing is NOT believing.

The Pharisees Position

In the unfolding of this event, after the man was healed he was taken and shown to the Pharisees. Their immediate position was non-belief. In verse 18 we see it says, “The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight.” They said it was not a miracle and that the man had not been born blind.

But to give them some credit, they did at least check. They went to the parents of the man born blind to verify some of the facts of the situation.

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight,
19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind;
21 but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.”

So they validated the fact that the man had indeed been born blind, but they still did not know or understand how it was that he could now see. They had already been told by the man how it had occurred for he told them that Jesus had anointed his eyes with clay made with spittle and told him to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam.

The answer had already been given but they refused to see. The man had received his sight and could now see the truth of God in Jesus, but the Pharisees had become blind to the truth because they refused to accept the evidence that stood right before their eyes.

The Parents of the Man

The parents of the man still had lessons to learn. I am sure they would have been overjoyed when they discovered their son had been released from his lifelong bondage to blindness. But they were fearful people of the power and authority of the Jewish leaders.

The Jewish leaders of the time were taking a hard line against Jesus for their hearts were hardened against Him. And as a result they were trying to quash and crush any person who took the side of Jesus. We see the path they took in the next verses.

22 His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.
23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.”

The synagogue was not just a place of worship, it also served as a meeting place for the people and business was conducted, contacts made and kept up, families came together and so on. The synagogue was a very important part of the life and culture of the people in those days, as I am sure it is to the Jewish people today.

So to be threatened to be put out of the synagogue was a serious matter. A person cast out of the synagogue was an outcast and would have been shunned by all who had previously been friends, colleagues and acquaintances. There would also be the stigma for others that if they continued to associate with someone that the leaders had kicked out, then they too may be thrown out too.

The parents of the man were thus caught between a rock and a hard place. Whilst they would have been joyful for their son, they were fearful of the consequences of admitting that Jesus was the Christ and thus becoming outcasts. They were fearful.

It was not their fault. Their fear was caused by the misuse of the power of the authorities. The Jewish leaders at the time were completely unjustified in taking the actions they took for what had happened was a good thing and a glory to God. Yet in their pettiness they saw fit to come down with an iron fist on any who proclaimed Jesus as Lord to try to hold onto their own power and position. It was a battle they would not win.

Believe and You Will See

So despite the evidence in front of them the Jewish leaders failed to see the truth. They chose to ignore it, and worse, they condemned anyone who did accept the truth.

This will happen to anyone who seeks to follow the Lord. You will come up against opposition and condemnation from those who do not follow him.

But the truth of the matter is that in order to see the Lord and the things of God, first you must believe. The order of the world that says, “When I see it I will believe it” or “Seeing is believing,” is back to front. It is ALWAYS a case of when you believe a thing, then you will see it.

This is a fundamental principle that exists not just in the bible, but in the whole world. Consider this, what great invention or advancement would ever have taken place if first a person did not believe in the possibilities? Would Columbus have sailed off to find America if he did not first believe that he would not drop off the edge of the world? Would Edison have invented the light bulb if he did not believe it could be done even after he had failed in over one thousand experiments until he got it right?

If you want to see the things of the Lord, then believing is even more important. As Paul said, “…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) The writer of Hebrews wrote too, “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is the key to seeing the truth of God. Faith is the key to salvation. And as with the blind man who received his sight, faith was the key that the Pharisees lacked and thus they were blind to the truth.

Seeing is not believing. First you must believe and then you will see.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Adrian van Leen)

You might also like:

Why Jesus Spoke In Parables
Jesus Healing The Blind
Woe To You Blind Guides
You Are Like Whitewashed Tombs
Healing The Blind Man
Seek The Lord And Never Ever Give Up
Blind Leading The Blind
Seeing Jesus

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