The Gospel of John now moves to the early ministry of Jesus, both in demonstrating his authority as from God, and reaching out to all beyond Israel alone. The message of Jesus has gone out from now from multiple witnesses, not just Jesus. From John the Baptist, following on the predictions and words of the Old Testament and of Moses. And even so: I know you do not have the love of God in your hearts (5:42), how are you going to believe what I say (5:47). And the challenge has been: No fence sitting now about the person of Jesus. The miraculous signs of John’s gospels now speak to the identity and authority of Jesus as the Son of God:
- Changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-11);
- Healing the royal official’s son (Jn 4:46-54);
- Healing the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (Jn 5:1-15);
- Feeding the 5,000 (Jn 6:5-14);
- Walking on water (Jn 6:16-21);
- Healing the man born blind (Jn 9:1-7); and
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:1-45).
The enemies of Jesus now begin to show their true colors – the issue is not logical, nor rational, nor reasonable for their rejection of Jesus. In fact, the sixth sign of healing the man born blind provides irrefutable proof of the authority and message of Jesus. Nay, Nay, says Jesus’ critic:
Major Premise: Only people who are from God can open the eyes of those born blind.
Minor Premise: This man, Jesus, is not from God.
Conclusion: He cannot have opened the eyes of one born blind.
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 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 9:35-41.
1. Unbelief is Not From a Lack of Facts or Evidence. For those who were the critics of Jesus, they tried all kinds of objections – He is violating the law and the sabbath by healing on the sabbath, he is claiming to be greater than Moses! And now, this can’t be the man who was born blind. So, evidentiarily, they brought both in the man’s parents, and the man himself. And his response: One thing I do know. I was bind but now I see…Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him.
2. Unbelief Confirms a Person in His Spiritual Blindness. The narrative of the gospels makes one thing very clear. There is no fence sitting with Jesus. Upon encountering Him and His message, there were three responses: outright rejection, a willingness to hear more, or saving belief. The danger in rejecting Jesus is that God confirms that person in his or her unbelief. And those who see will become blind. In the Bible there is a window of time for considering Jesus, but at some point, that window closes.
3. Unbelief Evidences the Condition of Sin. Spiritual blindness provides a different kind of evidence – it shows not only the condition of the heart, but the state of a person condemned in guilt and in sin without the redemptive work of Christ. And the contrast is stark: but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Hebrews 3:12. Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
Romans 11:23. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Romans 11:32. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Romans 11:20. Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
Hebrews 4:11. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
Again, no fence sitting with the message and Person of Jesus. It remains true: For by grace you are saved through faith. Stay well this week.