Lord, I Believe
John 9:35-41 MKJV Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and finding him, He said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? (36) And he answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? (37) And Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him, and it is He who is speaking with you. (38) And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshiped Him. (39) And Jesus said, I have come into this world for judgment, that they who do not see might see, and that they who see might be made blind. (40) And those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, Are we also blind? (41) Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.
There is a stark contrast between the once blind man who seeks the Truth and believes, and the Pharisees who seek to justify themselves – and so become spiritually blind.
The blind man makes two statements:
“Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?”
“Lord, I believe.”
These are clearly the statements of someone seeking after the Truth and looking for a solid relationship with God. He is not quibbling and arguing but uses his conscience and the light of his soul to find Christ.
And the Pharisees make one statement:
This is a sarcastic response to Jesus’ teaching and expects the answer “No”. It is the equivalent to the “How stupid do you think I am?” rhetorical question. They were confident of the light of their laws and doctrines, and sure of their spiritual standing, but in fact they were spiritually blind, and did not know it.
Now let’s look at the four statements of Christ:
“Do you believe in the Son of God?” This question probes for a true believer. Interestingly the once blind man becomes a full believer after he is persecuted for the name of Christ. Jesus sees someone who loves the Truth and invites him to believe.
”You have both seen Him, and it is He who is speaking with you.” The Son is not a doctrine, but a person. The Son of God is someone who can be seen and heard. Jesus is no abstraction but a living Being who we must trust. The person the blind man had now seen (he didn’t see him the first time because his eyes were only opened at the Pool of Siloam) was Jesus. What an awesome statement…the Son of God is speaking to you! Jesus still speaks to us today.
”I have come into this world for judgment, that they who do not see might see, and that they who see might be made blind.” Jesus is so powerful and overwhelming that we are only left with two choices – faith or darkness. Neutrality about Jesus is impossible. He judges us by our reaction to Him. Those believe His Words receive eternal life, those who choose to walk in their own light instead – end up spiritually blind.
”If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.” People who have no knowledge of God’s will, have no sin, but those who do know God’s will - should obey it. For sin is rebellion against the revealed will of God. The slave who did not know that what he was doing was wrong will “receive but few blows” while he who knew perfectly well that it was wrong “will be beaten severely”. (Luke 12:47-48) Thus we are to be careful stewards of God’s revelation:
Luke 8:18 MKJV Therefore be careful how you hear. For whoever has, to him shall be given; and whoever has not, from him shall be taken even that which he seems to have.
The Pharisees who claimed to know God’s will and be a light to the blind were in fact in deep trouble because they disobeyed the clear light of God, so it was taken from them, and they “became blind”. All of us who call ourselves pastors, missionaries or Christian leaders need to keep that in mind!
Romans 2:17-24 HCSB Now if you call yourself a Jew, and rest in the law, and boast in God, (18) and know His will, and approve the things that are superior, being instructed from the law, (19) and are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light to those in darkness, (20) an instructor of the ignorant, a teacher of the immature, having in the law the full expression of knowledge and truth-- (21) you then, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach, "You must not steal"--do you steal? (22) You who say, "You must not commit adultery"--do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples? (23) You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? (24) For, as it is written: The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.
Jesus keeps making a contrast between people who say “I believe” and others who say “I know” or “we see”. Being a believer leads to salvation, but just “knowing’ leads to hypocrisy and blasphemy.
Someone who truly believes lives by that belief. If a person truly believes they should be honest, they will live by that, and they will not steal. Their “not stealing’ is a sign that they genuinely believe in honesty.
On the other hand a person can “know” all about something but not live it out in real life. An easy example of this is fitness and dieting where many people “know it all” but actually do next to nothing. You can be a complete slob – who knows everything about Pilates and push-ups!
The gospel makes a clear distinction between believers and experts. The believer is always a learner and a disciple, and never “arrives” because he or she is always on the pilgrimage of faith. The expert thinks they have arrived because they are in some way superior to other Christians and have got a small or large following that confirms this erroneous belief. Experts can become believers but it is such a drastic change that when Jesus spoke to the “expert” Nicodemus He called it being “born-again’ – which involves taking on a new identity entirely with a whole bunch of uncertainties (The wind blows wherever it wills).
Those of us who teach the Word should be cautious lest we stop being disciples and learners and believers – and become arrogant experts and hypocrites.