Section 2: People of the Light
We do not sit on the sidelines of the story of redemption. We celebrate the first advent and eagerly anticipate the second because the incarnation changes everything—including us. Those who are in Jesus share in His call to be light to the world, a reflection of Him through the work of His Spirit. As we move toward Christmas Day, we’ll read Scripture calling us to respond to the arrival of our Savior by living as shining lights in this dark world.
Have you ever played hide and seek with a toddler? You announce, “Go and hide!” Then, the two-year-old quickly shuts his eyes and throws his hands over his face. He thinks that because he can’t see you, you can’t see him either. Toddlers are what psychologists call “egocentric.” This is not selfishness necessarily, though, because kids are sinners, they certainly battle selfishness, too. Rather, toddler-age children are so focused on growing as individuals that they have trouble walking in someone else’s shoes. That’s why playing hide and seek can be so funny. Their immaturity blinds them from being able to see things from another person’s point of view.
In John 9, Jesus and his disciples encounter a blind man who has been physically blind from birth. But in reality, this passage teaches us about several kinds of blindness.
The disciples demonstrate another kind of blindness. Their theological perspective is like that of a toddler; immature and myopic. The disciples’ question reveals the foolish assumption that this man’s disability must have been caused by sin—either his own or his parents’. Jesus corrects them, making clear through his words and actions that God has a purpose in this man’s brokenness. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him,” Jesus says (John 9:3). Then, he miraculously gave the man sight so that he saw the world for the first time in his life.
Then, in the remainder of the passage, we see a third kind of blindness still, the hardness of heart and spiritual blindness of the Pharisees. The passage as a whole serves as a stark warning against the coming night of spiritual blindness, when in the days as Jesus approached the cross most would either abandon or reject Him. The religious leaders already model the dark and murderous spirit of that coming night. Because they’ve pre-judged Jesus as evil, they first deny the miracle, then they are incredulous that He could have had a part in performing it.
The man who Jesus healed knew better. “Whether or not he’s a sinner, I don’t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!” (v.25). When the angry Pharisees mock the man’s commitment to Jesus’s power and throw him out of the synagogue (vv.27–34), Jesus comes to the man and comforts him. The man confesses his faith, falls at Jesus’s feet, and worships Him (vv.35–38).
May we, like this man, be delivered. Father, heal our brokenness, correct our immaturity, and forgive our hardness and sin. Rescue us from the dominion of darkness and qualify us to share in the inheritance of your holy people in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12–14). Amen.