We Are Not Blind Too, Are We?
By Raymond D. Sopp
John 9:39-41: "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.'"
Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to give us sight, but obviously the sight Jesus was talking about was more than just physical eye sight. But tragically this group of Pharisees had no need for Jesus, because in their heart of hearts they regarded their sight, or perception, to be without a flaw. However, they were in reality completely blind spiritually, but because they said, "We see," they had no need of a physician so their malady -- their sin remained. What further compounded this tragedy was the fact that these "men of God" were shepherds who were suppose to point God's people to the way, the truth, and the life, yet they themselves were blind to the pathway to God. In essence, they literally became blind guides who were appointed to guide the blind, just as Jesus said in Matthew 15:14, "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."
Now you may be saying to yourself, "I'm so glad I'm not like one of those blind Pharisees." But wait, they also thought themselves to be God's chosen people and holy in God's sight. As a matter of fact, they were so proud of their self-perceived holy image, their hearts were hardened to the point that they vehemently opposed anyone, or anything, that threatened to tarnish their self-perceived holy image. Besides, who does this carpenter from Nazareth think he is telling us, the holy-ones of God, that we're blind? That's right, the Pharisees were blinded by their own comeliness and splendor.
Or you could be saying to yourself, "But brother, I'm not a leader, or a guide; so what does this commentary have to do with me?" But you are mistaken. If you call yourself a Christian, you are a witness (guide) to the unsaved. Everything the world (unsaved) sees you do, or hears you say, becomes part of their definition of Christianity. Therefore, we do not have the luxury to look past Jesus' words to Pharisees. But instead, let us fearfully and with great regard consider the words of Jesus concerning this blindness so that we may avoid the same tragic outcome; saying, "We see," but end up being nothing more than a blind guide for the blind with both of us falling into a pit.
Matthew 23:16-22: "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.' You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated.' You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, he who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it."
In the above verses of Scripture, Jesus made a profound observation. By the Pharisees saying, "Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated," and saying, "Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated," were actually saying that it was the gold and offerings that constituted the glory of the temple and God was summarily vanquished to some other inferior role. That's right! In their eyes, it was the gold and offerings which were of greatest value and thereby obligated the oath. Oh, they could look in the mirror and without hesitation call themselves servants of God, but their own words betrayed them. They were indeed worshiping a god, but the god they were worshiping was the gold and offerings. The Pharisees were in a state of self-deceit – blinded by their own hearts, and consequently, blind guides for the blind.
Tragically, the Pharisees in their hearts treasured the temple's gold and offerings so much that the gold and offerings became the temple's glory; but they should have been treasuring the things of God so that God's glory would have received the preeminent place within their hearts. And what is God's glory? Exodus 33:22 & 34:6-7: "And it will come about, while MY GLORY is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." This impiety toward God, or double mindedness, was also confirmed by Jesus Himself with the very next line in Matthew, Matthew 23:23, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the WEIGHTIER provisions of the law: JUSTICE and MERCY and FAITHFULNESS; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others."
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-24, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money)." This impiety toward God, or double mindedness, caused a darkness within their hearts that was so great and so comprehensive, that the Scribes and Pharisees completely missed God's salvation -- God's deliverer, and continued to insist they had need of nothing.
I don't think Jesus could have made it any clearer than He did in Matthew 6:19-24, you are either in total light, or you are in total darkness and it's all determined by what you treasure within your heart. That's why Jesus continued on and said in Matthew 6:25, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?" Which brings us to this question: What is of most importance, or of greatest value in your life, the righteousness and glory of God, or the so-called glory of this world? But let us not be too quick to answer like the Pharisees, but with humility of mind, let us take a second look to see if there is anything in our (your) heart that displaces God's glory with something in this world which actually has no glory at all, something that would cause a veil of blindness to descend upon us (you).
Matthew 19:16-25: "And behold, one came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?' And He (Jesus) said to him, ‘Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.' He said to Him, ‘Which ones?' And Jesus said, ‘You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?' Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.' And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?'"
I actually heard it said by a very popular TV preacher one day that the reason Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had was so Jesus could multiply his wealth back to him. Wait a minute, you mean Jesus who was born into this world in a cave set aside for animals, whose first bed was nothing more than an animal's feeding trough, and finally left this world with nothing more than the clothes He had on His back was concerned about this man's wealth? That TV preacher could not have been more wrong! Jesus wanted to be sure that the rich young ruler's eyes remained clear (single) in focus so his heart would be and remain full of light, and free from the potential intrusion of darkness. Jesus wanted to impress upon both him and His disciples that there's room for only one God in our hearts. Jesus wanted to impress upon both him and His disciples that there was only one treasure that was truly important and that treasure was worth more than everything else in this world combined. And that treasure was our rebirth through the death and resurrection of God's only Son Jesus unto eternal life – that treasure was the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 13:44-46: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells ALL that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold ALL that he had, and bought it." And Luke 12:13-15: "And someone in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.' But He said to him, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbiter over you?' And He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.'" And finally Matthew 16:26: "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
John 6:26-27: "Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.'" Sadly, Jesus knew the crowds were coming to Him in order to fulfil their earthly hunger as they were completely blind to their greatest need, deliverance, i.e., salvation. Jesus performed miracles in this world (Egypt) for only one reason, to make known to all that He, just like Moses, was God's deliverer to lead us out of Egypt -- to lead us out of Satan's world. Acts 7:36-37: "This man (Moses) led them out (of Egypt, i.e., this world), performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt (this world) and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.'" And God did raise up another prophet in the order of (like) Moses, His only Son, Jesus.
But as the people were with Moses in the wilderness, so were the people that came to see Jesus, they were only interested in how God was going to fulfill their earthly desires in the here and now as they wandered through this wilderness of Satan's world. Psalm 78:18, 22, 40-41: "And in their heart they put God to the test by asking for food according to their desire. Because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation. How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness (this world), and grieved Him in the desert! And again and again they tempted (tested) God, and PAINED the Holy One of Israel." And even today, it's still no different as we gather by the hundreds of thousands to receive our miracle at some miracle crusade. As we keep our eyes and hearts intensely focused and zealous for the things we lack from this world's so-called glory, while at the same time we hardly give any notice, or attention to the things we lack of God's true glory within our hearts.
John 6:28-29 & 32-33: "They said therefore to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.' Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.'" But alas, with hearts full of greed, not only did the crowds continue to lust after miracles, they also lusted after the ability to perform the miracles themselves. They were not interested in some far off promised land. Psalm 106:24-25: "Then they despised the pleasant (promised) land; they did not believe in His word, but grumbled in their tents; they did not listen to the voice of the Lord." And John 6:66-69: "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?' Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.'"
Finally, Peter got it right: the miracles Jesus performed, as with Moses, were meant to only expose Jesus as the deliverer sent by God, the one who would set us free from the bondage of hell and death, and lead the way to the promised land, i.e., heaven. Luke 4:17-21: "And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He (Jesus) opened the book, and found the place where it was written, the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'" Or you could say it this way, the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to let all know that I am the deliverer sent from God to lead you out of Egypt (this world of Satan's) and into the Promised Land (heaven).
Mark 2:3-11: "And they came, bringing to Him (Jesus) a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.' But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?' And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your pallet and walk'? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, (i.e., God's deliverer), I say to you (the paralytic), rise, take up your pallet and go home.'"
John 16:33: "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." Over and over again, Jesus tried to make us understand that our greatest need was deliverance and salvation OUT of Satan's world, not salvation IN Satan's world. Yet, even today the words of our prayers betray the focus of our hearts as we pray for what this world calls glory, and delegate what God calls glory to some obscure spiritual concept. We zealously pray for health, wealth, and prosperity, but at the same time scarcely mention in our prayers a desire for the WEIGHTIER provisions of faithfulness, mercy, forgiveness, and a heart like unto our Lord and God's which is the heart of a servant. Am I saying we should never pray to God for earthly provisions as we walk this wilderness journey here on earth? No! God forbid! But we all need to have our eyes considerably more focused on the WEIGHTIER provisions and give our hearts over to trusting in God's salvation (provisions), i.e., not being fearful to end our prayers as Jesus did with the words, "Yet not as I will, but as You will."
If we're willing to accept it, Revelation 3:15-17 may just be a warning for us, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."
So what do we need to do to keep ourselves from becoming blind too? Matthew 6:31-34: "Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." And pray at ALL times that our Lord will keep us (you) from temptation and Satan's schemes.
From my heart to yours,
Raymond D. Sopp
All above Bible references are from The New American Standard Bible, (La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation) 1977.
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