For Judgment I am come into this World
© 2022 C. O. Bishop
Remember, as we read this passage, that Jesus had just healed a blind man, who had been born blind. He had miraculously given the man his sight. The man had suffered persecution, not because he was healed, but because he credited Jesus with the miracle. And they cast him out of the synagogue….essentially, he was excommunicated for confessing that Jesus had healed him, and for refusing to recant.
When Jesus found him again and introduced Himself as the Son of God, the man spontaneously worshipped Him. We still have people today who resent those who worship Jesus…or anyone who prays to Him. They reveal their hearts by that attitude. They reveal what they think of Jesus. And the next verse is what Jesus said in response:
39 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.
What a strange thing to say! And: who was He talking to? His disciples were there with him…the healed man was there…and some Pharisees were there. Those are the only ones we know of, for certain.
Consider the overall context: Jesus has been under attack all day and the previous day as well. He dispersed the men who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery. He introduced Himself as the Light of the World. He nearly was stoned by the Jews when He announced His own eternality, and the fact that He preexisted Abraham. Then, immediately after miraculously escaping the mob in the temple, he went out of His way to heal a man who had been born physically blind.
This Blindness was not Judgment
The disciples asked Jesus whether that man or his parents had sinned, to bring this “judgment” of congenital blindness upon the man. Jesus said that neither had sinned…God had prepared this man for the purpose of showing His own mighty works. (Unlike Bartimaeus, this man had not even asked to be healed. He knew nothing about Jesus before this day.)
But this man, once he understood who Jesus really was, fell down and worshipped him! He was not only healed of his physical blindness, but also the spiritual blindness of his soul was taken away. He saw Jesus for who He was!
Jesus is remarking the irony that: His presence gave sight to the blind, but also revealed the blindness of those who rejected His light. Remember John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation; that light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The people had an issue with light, there, too.
Blindness Can be Judgment for having Disregarded light
Samson and others ignored the light of God’s direction and His Word, and, in Samson’s case, he was physically blinded by his enemies and enslaved by them.
Romans 11:25 also records that “…blindness in part has happened to Israel.” The majority of the Jews at that time, and ever since that time, have rejected the Gospel of Christ. The few who believed at that time (along with the Jewish proselytes saved at the day of Pentecost,) became the foundation of the church. And they taught the gentile believers who were saved a short time later.
Biblical historians say that the Roman centurion Cornelius (in Acts 10) received the Lord about seven or eight years after the events in Acts 2. I have no scriptural proof of that time passage. All we know is that the church was well established before the Gentiles (as Gentiles, not proselytes), were entering the Body of Christ in any significant numbers. (In Acts 13, we saw the first “mostly Gentile” assembly, and it caused a great deal of controversy, dealt with in Acts 15.)
Blindness happened to Saul
When Saul of Tarsus was confronted by Jesus on the Road to Damascus, two things happened: He was struck to the ground, along with the others in his group, and he was struck blind. Three days later, Jesus sent another disciple, Ananias, to restore his sight… and Saul changed his name to Paul. His physical and spiritual blindness had been healed, and He saw Jesus for who He was.
The rest of Israel remains partially blinded, to this day, and Paul grieved their loss, in Romans 9:1-3. But God promises to restore their sight, as a nation, and they will see Him, physically, and, for the first time recognizing Him for who He is. Zechariah 12:10 says “…They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and be in bitterness for Him as one is that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
For Judgment I am Come
Jesus had earlier said that He had come to save the lost. But, in the same verses (John 3:18, 19) He had said that condemnation was already there in the World. He said, “He that believeth not is condemned already…and this is the condemnation… that light is come into the World, and Men loved darkness rather than light.”
Many people have taught, for years, that “if you don’t stop sinning, you’re going to be condemned!” But the truth is, you can’t stop sinning, and you are already condemned! The whole human race was in this same trap of sin…every single one of us was guilty and lost.
How did we get there?
Romans 1:21, 22, tells us how that happens. “When they (the human race) knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
By choosing darkness, we were filled with darkness, and we perpetuated our role as children of darkness. All we were really doing is confirming what God had said from the beginning. He said “In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die!” Adam ate, and all his progeny (including Eve) were instantly plunged into the darkness of sin: spiritual separation from the Light of God.
Jesus is the Light of the World
His presence revealed the hearts of everyone who came in contact with Him. Those who rejected light, rejected Him. Those who yearned toward the light, turned to Him in faith. Even today, the same truth applies. The Light of Christ appears in the World, through his servants, the believers, and the people will either turn toward that light, in faith, or they will reject that light, and even attempt to extinguish it.
The Blindness of “Religion”
Romans 2:19 tells us that the Jews saw themselves as being “…a light of them which are in darkness.” But Judgment was about to fall on them, because in truth, they were the opposite of a “light to those in darkness:” They shrouded the light with their corruption, and their hypocrisy, to the extent that no one could see the Light of God in them at all. And they tried to extinguish the Light of Christ when He was there among them. They revealed who they were!
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
They were not the Only Ones
It would be easy for us to just sneer at the Pharisees and say, “Yeah, those bad old Pharisees!” But the fact is, we are always in danger of doing something similar! We can become so self-satisfied and smug in our “good doctrine,” or our “healthy church,” that we completely close ourselves off from the unsaved world to whom we are sent as witnesses.
At that point, we are no longer allowing the Holy Spirit to reach out through us to the world around us. At that point we are “just a bunch of religious folk.” That is what had happened to the Pharisees, and to a certain extent, to the entire nation of Israel. They were a “very religious” people, but they denied the reality of the Love and the Power of the God they claimed to serve.
A Modern Example:
I visited a church, a few years ago, that had become so ingrown and exclusive, that, when a shabby-looking stranger arrived at their door, they literally didn’t know what to do. (I was the “stranger,” driving a beat-up old Toyota, and wearing clean, but older, inexpensive clothing.)
The “greeters” looked like “deer in the headlights,” clutching their church bulletins against their suit-clad chests. They stood and stared at me, but they did not greet me at all. They never offered a handshake, or asked my name. Never offered me a bulletin, or asked whether I knew the Lord: they said nothing. As ambassadors, they had become irrelevant. They were probably “nice, God-fearing people,” but they were having zero positive effect on the people around them. No one would come back for another visit, after that sort of reception!
The Pharisees had become blind to the light of God. That was Jesus’s judgment of them: He revealed their true blindness. The church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:19) as a group, had become blind, as well, and Jesus shut them down! On an individual one-on-one basis, He still invited them to fellowship with Him, but as a church, they were completely shut down.
Because the Pharisees still claimed to “see,” and even claimed that they saw better than others, they were under the Judgment of God. In John 5:22, we see that Jesus, as God the Son, is the Judge of all the Earth, and He is the One they were rejecting and slandering!
They didn’t know it, but, less than 40 years later, the entire temple and everything they held precious would be destroyed. Through a series of bloody revolts, over a period of 70 years, during which hundreds of thousands were killed, the nation of Israel eventually ceased to be a nation, and was renamed “Palestine” by the Romans, in an effort to exterminate the memory of Judaism. It stayed that way until 74 years ago, when it was reborn as “Israel,” on May 14th, 1948. But the blindness still remains, today.
The Job of the Church is to Represent Jesus
We are called to be Ambassadors of Christ…we are to represent Him before the World. But, how we apply God’s Word in our daily lives and how we respond to others because of His presence in our lives will determine the result of our service.
We are told to testify to His love and His Grace, and to demonstrate His Love and His Mercy. We are told to become His hands and feet, and to be His voice, speaking His Righteousness and Love into the ears of the lost World.
When we partake in communion, we testify before one another that His blood was shed for us, and that we are trusting in His Grace, and looking forward to His return. But the result of that Sacred Relationship should be that we willingly, voluntarily reach out to the people around us, too. This isn’t all about us! Jesus’s agenda reaches out to the whole world.
The result should be that we desire His righteousness and His wisdom. That we want to see our lives transformed, to be like Him. We should be concerned that the light of His presence is not dimmed because of the “grime” of our lives. The sin in our lives should grieve us as deeply as it does Him. We should want what He wants.
As ministers of the light…servants of the light, we need to make certain that the light we shine is clean and clear. We mentioned some time ago that the headlamps of a vehicle can become so encrusted with road-grime that the light burning within seems very dim as seen from the outside.
We want our lives to be clean enough and clear enough that anyone looking our way will see the light of Jesus. We are supposed to “Glow in the dark.” We are told to “shine as lights in a corrupt nation.” No nation in history has been completely free of corruption, but God’s people are to shine in the midst of that darkness. We are commanded to draw people to Jesus: (not “to church:” to Jesus!)
We are called to “smell like Jesus.” The Fragrance of Christ is to be emanating from our lives at all times. The only way that is going to happen is if we allow Him to live through us, and allow His presence to permeate our lives.
As we celebrate communion together, please be thinking about what that may mean, to allow Jesus to live through you.
Lord Jesus, we know that we are blind to so much of the truth of God. We yearn to experience Your light in such a way that it transforms us into Your likeness. Let us be true children of the light, and not limit Your light in any way.