For judgment I came into the world... that the world might be saved
John 9 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6 When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9 Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who was formerly blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also were asking him again how he received his sight. And he said to them, “He applied clay to my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”
18 The Jews then did not believe it of him, that he had been blind and had received sight, until they called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, 19 and questioned them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? Then how does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28 They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
In today’s text Jesus says: “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” This seems to be a contradiction to what Jesus says in John 3:17: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” The judgment of God against the world is not a very popular or well received idea today. People are much more comfortable with a loving and gracious God, one who accepts us just as we are and would not condemn anyone. So which is it? Did Jesus come for judgment or for salvation?
The truth is these two are not contradictory statements. In today’s text Jesus statement is followed by: “so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” The statement in John 17 is followed by: “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Jesus Himself does not judge or condemn, but rather people are judged by their deeds and their heart, what they do and what they love. In today’s text when Jesus says that those who see may become blind, He isn’t speaking about physical blindness. Jesus came as a light, to reveal the darkness of sin and the human condition. Those who love darkness, because their deeds are evil cannot see because they have chosen darkness over light. Jesus does not judge them but because they have rejected Him and salvation which comes through Him, they live in the judgment and darkness of their choice. God is not to blame for the judgment which comes upon those who choose it. God is a loving and merciful, gracious God. Because of love, He sent Jesus, as light, to bring salvation, redemption from the darkness of sin. God does love us just as we are. But Jesus came and died so that we would not remain as we were, but rather that we would see and believe and be changed.
Today’s text began: As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Like the disciples we tend to try to understand things by what we see and know. We assume that when bad things happen someone is to blame. Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The world around us is indeed filled with evidence of sin and darkness. Jesus didn’t come so that we would focus on sin and darkness. He came so that through Him, we would see light. That through Him we would see the works of God displayed. The loving and gracious works of God are seen when people change, when they choose light over darkness. Jesus says: “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” Jesus then proceeded to bring physical healing for the blindness of the man. But more than that, the man was also spiritually changed. The text says: Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. The works of God, His love and grace are meant to change people, so that they would believe in Jesus and be saved.
In the same way that Jesus said He did not come to judge, but to be light so that people would see and believe, Jesus also says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Like Jesus, we should not judge. Rather like Him we should be light that causes people to see, to believe and to change. Love does not judge, it comes to people as they are. But the love of God, demonstrated in the cross and the light and life of Christ, causes them to change.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You that You loved me even while I was a sinner. But that trough Your love and Your light I see and I choose to walk in light rather than remaining in darkness. Holy Spirit work in and through me, that I too would not judge, but rather I would be a light that causes others to see and believe, that they would not be judged but rather they would be saved, redeemed, changed. Amen.