“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”1
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”2
In both of these verses, Jesus is speaking of the Jewish religious leaders, scholars, and teachers, and to those who followed them. What he said is extremely relevant to examine, because what was true of them has become true of the church today.
Jesus proved he was from God in many ways, not the least by performing life-restoring miracles and teaching with genuine authority.3 Sadly, while personally witnessing these things, the religious Jews were oblivious to what was happening (the ending of their season) and were only concerned with the threat to their elevated status which Jesus posed. He frequently warned and lamented the state of the Jewish religious leaders, and told his disciples that they and those following them were blind and going to end up in a “pit,” separated and excluded from the path of walking and communing with God. It’s very sobering.
Though the Jews had many flaws, I think one in particular was fatal: they claimed to see. Their claim was founded on their lineage from Abraham, their status as God’s chosen people, and most of all in their knowledge of the law of Moses and their diligence in keeping it. Ultimately, their trust was in themselves, contrary to Jesus’ way of total self-denial. In reality – things from God’s perspective – they were blind, hypocritical, and opposed to what God was doing through His son, right under their noses.
Let’s look at the broader context of the first verse I posted above: “And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”4
As always, Jesus is referring to spiritual things and is concerned with the heart. Jesus said he actually came to this world for “judgment.” This is not talking about condemnation or punishment; the Greek word for “judgment” means to make a distinction. Naturally speaking, the distinction (judgment) between blindness and sight is determined by the ability to receive and process “light,” which is a common metaphor in the New Testament basically meaning revealed truth from the spirit realm. Therefore, those with “sight” are able to discern divinely revealed truth and understand it, and those who are “blind” cannot, often following the reasoning of their own human mind and becoming confident in their own righteousness.
Put simply, those who are without sight are those who in their heart know and admit their need for light, while those who claim to see are those who in their heart believe they have no need. Jesus said if the Pharisees acknowledged their need for light, they would have had no sin. Amazingly, Romans 3:25-26 states that God passed over the sins committed prior to Christ, in order to demonstrate his righteousness and justice in the season of the new covenant in Christ. If they had only admitted their need for light (their blindness), the Pharisees would have discerned the new thing God was doing in Christ (been able to see) and had their sin removed by Jesus’ ransom payment. Sadly, their contentment in their own righteousness and understanding of the law barred them from Jesus’ atonement, thus sin remained on their account. Jesus knew that by his coming to this world, the self-righteous and confident would be nullified and blinded, and the humble and desperate would be given grace and enlightened.
It’s essential we depend on God, who is spirit, for our sight, which is largely what the process of repentance is about. This doesn’t come from reading the Bible, which is evident if you look around Christianity. Ask God to grant sight to you. Righteousness is ONLY that which conforms to God, so humble yourself. You’ll begin to see that presumption and blindness are rampant among even devout and zealous believers. But if the church will humble herself and begin to diligently seek for God and for truth in the spirit realm, I believe a revolution will take place. Many are saying that such a revolution is coming soon and has already started. Get ready.
1. John 9:41
2. Matthew 15:14
3. Matthew 11:20-23, Mark 6:2, Acts 2:22
4. John 9:39-41