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§ 199. Attempts of the Sanhedrim to corrupt and alarm the restored Blind Man.—Christ’s Conversation with him.—The Sight of the Blind, and the Blindness of the Seeing.

A great sensation must have ensued among the multitude at sight of a man so well known as the blind beggar walking about completely restored. John gives a graphic description (ch. ix) of the arts employed by the Sanhedrim to deny or explain away a fact which so publicly testified to the power of Christ. Their craft was used in vain. Nothing could be extorted from the lips of the man or of his parents to further their designs. The beggar’s incorruptible love of truth was shown in his indignation at their attempts to explain away his own experience and force him to a lie. Their spiritual arrogance was wounded by his firmness, and their rage soon turned against himself.

His heart was prepared by this conflict with the foes of Christ to receive from the latter a revelation of his character. This was given (v. 35-37) probably at some public place where Jesus found him; and since he was already convinced that the man who had cured him was endowed with Divine power, he could the more readily recognize him as Messiah, when announced by himself as such.

The conduct of this poor man on the one hand, and the Pharisees on the other, represented the tendencies of two opposite classes of mankind; and Christ set this opposition forth vividly thus: “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” The spiritual was here figured by the corporeal; the blind man had been made to see, while the Pharisees, who would not see the fact before them, became blind with their eyes open. The same thing occurred in a spiritual sense; the beggar, spiritually blinded by involuntary ignorance, but conscious of it, humbly accepted the spiritual light that was offered him, and became a seeing man. The Pharisees, on the other hand, had knowledge enough, but would not use it; and, in their pride of knowledge, shutting out the Divine light, they became more culpably blind.

And this judgment avails for all ages. Wherever the Spirit of Christ operates among men, the blind are made to see, the seeing become blind. The work of Christ, in enlightening and blessing mankind, can, not be accomplished without this “sifting;” it flows necessarily from the opposite moral tendencies of men. The grace and the condemnation go hand in hand; the offer of the one involves the infliction of the other.

The Pharisees who stood around knew well that these words were directed against themselves, and asked him, in offended pride, “Are 301we, then, blind also?” Christ had not said that they were blind, but that they would become so by their own guilt; and he replied: “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (Ignorance would have excused them, as in the case of the sin against the Son of Man. But their boast of knowledge was a witness against themselves. Able to see, but not willing, their blindness was their guilt.)

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