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John 9:39 reads “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” The background for this verse is the healing of a man who had been blind from his birth. And not only was he given his “physical” sight, but he was also blessed with “spiritual” sight, as we see in John 9:35-38, which says “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Dost though believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” It was an unspeakable blessing for him to have his eyes opened to see the world for the first time; it was an even greater blessing to have his spiritual eyes opened to see that the One Who had healed him was the Son of God, the Savior of the world!

This miracle of spiritual sight was the occasion for the verse in question. We do well to break it down into its three parts. What did the Lord mean when He said, “For judgment I am come into this world”? We know He was NOT saying that He had come to condemn the world, for this would contradict John 3:17 which reads, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” But His coming did involve judgment: the “judging” of man’s true condition! He was able to discern if a man was humble and willing to admit that he was spiritually blind, and He was able to discern if a man was proud and unwilling to admit that he was spiritually blind.

The next phrase reads, “that they which see not might see.” The blind man illustrates this truth perfectly, for he took his place as a humble sinner before the Lord Jesus and realized that he needed to believe on the Son of God, and as a result the Lord opened his spiritual eyes and gave him to believe. If you are saved, dear friend, it’s because you too realized your need of the Savior and in so doing you were admitting to your spiritual blindness. Once a sinner takes that place it is the joy of the Lord Jesus to open that person’s eyes to behold Him as the Savior of sinners. I think of those blessed words in John 3:14-15 which tell us, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The man or woman who knows they are spiritually blind will be led to the cross to receive their sight; to behold the Lord Jesus taking their place in judgment and death so they could be saved and have eternal life.

The last phrase says, “and that they which see might be made blind.” Unlike the blind man who was willing to admit he was spiritually blind and in need of a Savior, there were proud, self-righteous Pharisees present who heard the Lord Jesus speak. They did NOT see themselves as sinners void of spiritual sight and in need of a Savior. And because of their unwillingness to humble themselves and admit they were blind, the Lord would allow them to continue on in their blindness and their hearts would actually become more hardened and blinded by their rejection of Him.

How sad it is to hear the Pharisees’ response to the Lord’s words in verse 40, “Are we blind also?” Of course they said this in sarcasm and unbelief. The Lord replied, in verse 41, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” In grace the Lord was teaching them that if only they would realize and admit that they were spiritually blind, their sin could be removed. But He knew they refused to acknowledge their true spiritual condition and thus their sin would remain; in other words, they would remain unforgiven.  (134.5)  (DO)