“Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, ‘Is not this he who sat and begged?’ Some said, ‘This is he.’ Others said, ‘He is like him.’ He said, ‘I am he.’ Therefore they said to him, ‘How were your eyes opened?’ He answered and said, ‘A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is He?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’ They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.’ Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ And there was a division among them. They said to the blind man again, ‘What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’ But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ His parents answered them and said, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’ So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, ‘Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.’ He answered and said, ‘Whether He is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.’ Then they said to him again, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?’ Then they reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.’ The man answered and said to them, ‘Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, ‘Who is He Lord that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe!’ And he worshiped Him. And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘we see.’ Therefore your sin remains.’”
John chapter 9 tells the story of a blind man whose eyes were opened. Today I would like all of us to meditate on this passage. That the blind man’s eyes were restored is really true, and there is a mystery behind it. We need to meditate on this account with spiritual discernment. It is indispensable for us to have such eye-opening experiences, and we must as a necessity, try to understand the mystery behind this incredible story where Jesus Christ healed this blind man’s eyes. That the blind man’s eyes were opened is a great mystery. The Bible says that this blind man eyes were immediately opened when he went to the pool of Siloam and washed his eyes as instructed by the Lord. A great mystery is hidden in this story.
What Do the Spiritually Blind People Need to Do to Have Their Eyes Opened?
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:22-25, “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” If spiritually blind people come to understand this passage and realize the God given gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, they then will have their blind eyes restored. Firstly we need to grasp the fact that we serve the law of God with our hearts, but with the flesh we serve the law of sin. We need to realize what this passage really means. Those who do not understand the mystery in this passage are ‘the blind,’ even though they may claim to be able to see.
The Lord said in the last verse of John chapter 9, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” Jesus said that if the Pharisees were really blind, they could have become sinless, but because they claimed to see, they remained as sinners. This passage means that those who claim to see the Truth even as it is proved that they do not understand it, they profess to know Jesus even as they do not really know Him, profess to be saved by believing in Jesus and being ignorant of His gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, are all Christian sinners. The Bible has been translated into practically every vernacular language, and so it may seem as though we can understand it just by reading the black words on the white paper, but actually it is not so easy to understand. That is because the Lord spoke of spiritual things.
Paul said that his flesh served the law of sin, but with his mind he served the law of God (Romans 7:25). Every Christian serves the law of God, at least in his heart. All of us fear God. We know that He is the Absolute Creator, the Almighty and our Perfect Savior; and we believe in His salvation. So we can all approach God in gratefulness and with respect. But to those who do not fear God, and do not know who He really is, and do not understand who Jesus Christ really is, and who do not realize the gravity of His wrath —should as a matter of importance first try and understand what the Apostle Paul said.
Paul said that he served the law of God with his heart and the law of sin with his flesh. This is true for everyone, irrespective of whether one is born again or not. It is everyone’s heartfelt desire to live virtuously and uprightly. Yet despite this, everyone serves sin with his body. That is why the Bible says that in order to follow the Lord, we must cast aside our carnal thoughts and submit ourselves to Him. Nevertheless everyone serves the law of sin with his flesh. This means that everyone follows what the flesh desires. But in the heart, people really desire to serve the law of God. To receive the remission of sins in this condition—that is, while serving the law of God with the mind and the law of sin with the flesh—you should first fear God from the heart. You should respect God and realize just how majestic He is, and fear and honor Him. And you should realize His Truth of salvation He which was given to you.
This is why the Bible is so very difficult to understand even though it may appear easy. When the Bible is interpreted according to ethical and moral understandings, it may seem to make sense to fleshly minds, but the Bible is not about ethics and morals. Unlike the classical texts of Confucianism, which are essentially ethical writings, the Bible is certainly not a book of moral teachings as some make it out to be. The philosophical ideas of Socrates or Plato are man’s own thoughts and claims, but the Bible is the perfect Word of God that is spoken to all mankind. Sometimes it will speak to the born-again and other times it will be addressed directly to those who have as yet not been born again. That is why it is so complicated.
Many Christians profess that it is very easy to believe in Jesus. They say that one can become a child of God just by praying to Him and accepting Jesus as his Savior. But not everyone can become God’s own child just by accepting Jesus in his prayer. This is such a foolish claim. Just because one says with his mouth that he accepts the Holy Spirit or Jesus, this does not mean that Jesus or the Holy Spirit actually comes into that person’s heart. God does not do our bidding. God is fundamentally different from us. He is holy and perfect, and we are no match for Him. Referring to Jesus, John the Baptist said, “He who is coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loosen.” So just because anyone says, “Jesus, please come into my heart. I believe in you. I accept you,” He will not actually enter into that person’s heart. He lives in a wholly different dimension, whose majesty and scale far surpasses ours. We need to fully understand that not just anyone can receive God and talk with Him.
If you really want to know God, then you must first meet Jesus Christ, and your heart should fear Him. In other words, you must first realize just how lowly and insufficient you are before His presence, and how exalted, great, majestic and perfect Jesus really is. Only then will you come to respect Him from the depth of your heart.
Before turning to today’s passage from the Gospel of John, we should ascertain if we really love the law of God and really desire to follow it with our whole hearts, or if we are serving and following the law of sin with our flesh. And we should know who this God really is, and we must also know who we really are, this is important. Also we must know who Jesus Christ is and what the God given gospel of the water and the Spirit really is. The Lord spoke to us in various ways about the real condition of man, a good example of this is Paul’s admission where he served the law of God with his mind and the law of sin with his flesh. This means that in the flesh, everyone keeps following only after his own greed. It therefore does not matter how much we pray or how determined we might be. With our hearts we follow what we think is right, while with the flesh, we follow the law of sin.
Those who are able to follow the law of God with their hearts are the ones who have received the remission of sins, but those who have not received the remission of sins follow the law and even commit more wicked sins with their hearts. Seeking after evil with the heart is a sin greater than a sin of following evil with the flesh. The Lord said to the Pharisees, “You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” This means that people swallow huge transgressions as big as a camel, but they strain out tiny offenses and ask the Lord to forgive them. People like this are hypocrites. There are also many who say that while they have been remitted from their original sin, their personal sins remain intact, and these daily sins are remitted away just by offering prayers of repentance.
All this is because they do not know God. And also because they do not know the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that God the Father has given to us through His Son. People generally are ignorant and live a faulty and ignorant standard of life, and do not even realize their own sins. When measured by the Lord’s barometer, we steal with our hearts everyday, we get angry, and we murder dozens of people in just single day. Yet we walk around as though we are pious and not sinners.
A Korean poet, Dongju Yun once wrote a famous poem titled “Prelude.” It goes like this:
Let me have no shame
Under the heaven
Till I die.
Even winds among the foliage
Pained my heart.
With a heart that sings of the stars,
I’ll love all dying things.
And I must fare the path
That’s been allotted to me.
The winds sweep over the stars.
Those who have set a high standard to live without any shame before God, know just how many sins they commit in any given day. That is why Christians and non-Christians alike should have a ‘high spiritual standard of life.’ Because people possess a ‘hypocritical standard’ they think they are not sinners before God and therefore their hearts are not troubled at all. And because of this carnal standard, they think that they are not going to hell. It is also because their standard is so low that they say, “I am good enough. And if someone like me goes to hell, then everyone else will go to hell.” If the standard is high then one is compelled to admit to God that he deserves to be cast into hell a dozen times, and realizes that he really needs to be saved by God and asks for His help. Therefore we must have a high standard.
God gave 613 statutes of the Law commanding us that no one should have any other gods before Him. He summed up these 613 statutes of the Law into ten major commandments for us. Although we were born through our earthly parents, we need to understand that we were born because of God. But while living in this world we will serve all kinds of idols. So, calling us a brood of sin God gave us the Law so that we would realize this sin. Yet despite this people worship idols rather than God. God tells us that we are evildoers, neither knowing nor believing in the peace and salvation that God has given into our hearts, nor keeping them.
Those Who Are Blind Will See, but Those Who Already Claim to See Will Be Blind Forever
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now that you say, ‘We see.” Therefore your sin remains.” A real blind man met Jesus and He opened up his eyes. John chapter 9 says that this blind mans eyes were opened, but for the Pharisees whose eyes were wide open, their sins remained intact. This blind man did not know himself, but once he met Jesus Christ he became aware who he really was, and because of this he received the remission of his sins. We also have received the remission of sins, because our spiritual eyes have been opened. Our spiritual eyes were opened when we came to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and realized just what terrible sinners we were, we received the remission of our sins by knowing and believing that the Lord accepted our sins through His baptism, was condemned for all these sins, rose from the dead and saved all of us. We were once blind, but our eyes have been opened and we have of the heart received the remission of sins. In contrast, those who see themselves only with their eyes of the flesh but not with the eyes of the heart still have sins remaining, and that is why they are still blind. Therefore we must try to understand exactly what Jesus said here.
We need to know that Jesus Christ made man together with His Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was very much involved when you and I were made, and including our ancestors. This very Jesus whom we believe in now was fully engaged in our creation. That is why we call Jesus, God. We call Him the Son of God. We say that He is the Creator, the Savior and the Judge.
In John chapter 9, when Jesus met a blind man, He spat on the ground, made clay with His saliva and put this clay over the blind man’s eyes. He then told him to go and wash himself in the pool of Siloam. This means that even though we were all cursed, Jesus came as our Savior and washed away all our sins. The word Siloam means “sent.” Jesus Christ was ‘sent’ by God the Father. He was ‘sent’ to save you and me from sin.
That Jesus spat on the ground to make clay and put it on the eyes of the blind man implies human beings are the accursed. In other words, you and I were destined for hell, but God the Father sent the Lord to us by coming down to this earth as our Savior, and He has saved us completely. Coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, Jesus received the baptism with His body to bear all our sins, was condemned on the Cross while shouldering all those sins, and has thereby saved us. Just as the water in the pool of Siloam washed away all the clay, spit and filth that was on the eyes of the blind man, and he received his sight, the Lord likewise has cleansed away all our sins with His baptism and His blood on the Cross. If our Lord had not come to this earth to take upon your sins and mine by being baptized, He could not have borne the condemnation of sin, no matter how many times He suffered death on that Cross.
Leviticus chapter four and Matthew chapter three depict the relationship between the ‘laying on of hands’ in the Old Testament and Jesus’ water baptism in the Jordan River. The laying on of hands means that a sinner has to pass his sins over onto a sacrificial animal. You should pay particular attention to the fact that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in a form of ‘laying on of hands’ to take upon all the sins of the world once and for all. If Jesus Christ had not been baptized for us, then our sins would have still remained intact in our hearts, and we would still have all our accursed sins with us. Jesus died on the Cross because He had taken upon all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist who was the representative of all mankind. By bearing all the condemnation of our sins, He has saved us, and become our Savior.
For 400 years, from the death of Malachi to the coming of Jesus, there was no true servant of God in Israel. Because God did not send His servants to Israel for this long period, the world became corrupt. When we turn to the Book of Malachi, we will read that mankind had become corrupted and filthy, and due to the fact that no one was looking for God, the Lord did not send any servants to His people for 400 years.
But at the beginning of the New Testament era we find a man named Zacharias, who was a righteous man in the sight of God. He truly believed in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and offered sacrifices by faith. Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth was an old woman by now. She was way past menopause and could not bear any children. But it was the work of God that John the Baptist was conceived in her. God spoke to Zacharias as well through an angel. While Zacharias was serving in the Temple, an angel appeared before him and said, “Your wife will bear a son, and you shall call his name John.”
Some six months later, an angel appeared before the Virgin Mary as well and said, “Mary you have found favor with God. You will bear a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” When Mary said, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” the angel said, “Elizabeth your relative has also conceived. God has done this.”
To save you and me from sin, God sent both John the Baptist and Jesus to this earth. When the two turned 30, John the Baptist baptized Jesus as the representative of mankind, Jesus went to him and was baptized as the Savior of mankind. This is God’s work. It was not done according to any man’s plans. After baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist declared publicly, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Because of our sins, we were destined to be sent to hell and to be enslaved by the Devil. But despite this Jesus came to this earth to save us by bearing all our sins and condemnation. Jesus came here to do this work, He first sought to be baptized by John the Baptist, and when John baptized Jesus, all the sins of mankind were passed onto Him. It was for ‘this work’ that John the Baptist had come into this earth. And he was also sent by God the Father. Jesus Christ the Son of God and John the Baptist were both sent by the Father according to His will. This was to fulfill the promise God had made in the Old Testament. In other words, by being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus shouldered all our sins once for all, and He was crucified and shed His blood to bear the condemnation of sin. And by rising from the dead, He has saved us completely. This is the providence of God and His work. Jesus said that there was no one in the world who was greater than John the Baptist.
Elijah was one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament who fought against 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah all by himself, so that he could lead the children of Israel back to God. To settle who really was the true God, Baal or Jehovah, Elijah and these prophets had decided to offer sacrifices. The prophets of Baal and Asherah prayed all day from sunrise to sunset, but they could not get their sacrifices on the altar to burn. But when Elijah prayed to God, fire came down from heaven and consumed all the flesh sacrifices, firewood, and even licked up the water that filled the trenches surrounding the altar. When the people of Israel witnessed this incredible thing they admitted that only Jehovah was the real living God and they returned back to Him. There was no prophet as amazing as Elijah.
Just as Elijah had led the people of Israel back to God, it was none other than John the Baptist who was to lead everyone back to God. Matthew 3:16-17 says, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Baptism also means to be covered with something.
By being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus was covered with our sins. He had accepted them all leaving not one behind. Jesus Christ thus took upon our sins through His baptism, and by bearing the condemnation of our sin, He could saved us completely. This is the will of God the Father. No one can change this.
We must know this Truth of salvation that God had fulfilled for us. Even before the foundation of this world, God had planned to wash away all our sins with the gospel of the water and the Spirit and make us His children through His Son Jesus Christ. And according to God’s plan, we have received the remission of our sins and come to praise God and enjoy the glory of Heaven. In this plan we find Jesus and John the Baptist; we also find God’s servants of the Old Testament, today’s servants of God, and you and me as well.
Just as you have a plan and purpose when you make something, likewise God also had a plan and purpose when He made you and me and created this universe and all things in it. God’s plan and purpose is none other than the remission of your sins and mine. Having cleansed away our sins and made us the brides of Jesus Christ, we will be taken to His Kingdom to enjoy everlasting life and live forever in power and glory. That is why we must know this wonderful plan of God.
Those who profess that they can see and do not at the same time know anything about the gospel of the water and the Spirit are all blind. It is those who have received the remission of sins into their hearts that have had their spiritual eyes opened. Jesus told the blind man to go to the pool of Siloam and wash his eyes. When the Lord came to this earth as our Savior, He took upon all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. You should also go to that place and pass your sins onto Him by faith. You and I must pass our sins onto Jesus. We must believe and acknowledge wholeheartedly that God has set our salvation in this way, and that He has blotted out all our sins and saved us in this way. That is how we are saved, and there is no other way. Because you believe in God and the Truth that was established by Him, and because Jesus Christ took upon all your sins by being baptized, He is telling you to go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.
Condemnation for our sins must be borne on the Cross. Our sins were passed over onto Jesus by faith through the baptism He received, and Jesus bore the condemnation of all our sins on that Cross. When Jesus Christ was crucified, your old self and my old self were also crucified. Therefore it is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ lives in me and you. Jesus Christ came to this earth to save you and me from sin, shouldered all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, carried the sins of the world to the Cross, and was crucified, whipped and brutally killed to bear the condemnation of our sin. By His own body He washed away all our sins and was condemned for them. The Bible tells us that, “The wages of sin is death.” The body of Jesus perished while shouldering all our sins. But in three days after he died, He rose from the dead just as He had promised. He has thus saved us.
So rather than being drawn into man’s own fleshly thoughts and the lies brought in by the Devil, we must grasp God’s great plan and believe in it accordingly. We must say, “In the name of the Lord Jesus I command you, be gone Satan!” It is written, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is therefore absolutely critical to have the right knowledge about our salvation. If you really desire to wash away all your sins, you must go to the pool of Siloam and wash it there. This means that underneath the Cross is not the place where you should be asking God to wash away your sins. Jesus was crucified to bear the condemnation of our sins because He had already taken upon them by being baptized by John the Baptist. He was condemned for the sins of the world. And the sins of the world include none other than your sins and mine, and all the sins of both our ancestors and their many descendants.
The Lord bore all our sins by being baptized, blotted them all out by being condemned on that Cross, and has through this become our Savior. He has saved us perfectly from sin. The reason why people still have sin in their hearts despite all this is because they do not believe in what the Lord had accomplished for them. It is because they have not united their hearts with Christ at each and every Righteous Act of His ministry. You should unite your heart with Jesus Christ when He was baptized. When Jesus was baptized, He commanded John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” That Jesus was baptized means that He accepted all the sins of mankind. Your sins were also passed onto Him at that time. That is why Jesus is the Lamb of God. Just like the sacrificial animals of the Old Testament, Christ accepted all our sins onto His sinless body by being baptized. You should therefore unite your heart with this Righteous Act. Since all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized, you must realize and grasp that your sins were also passed onto Him.
People nowadays say that John the Baptist is insignificant. Even among biblical scholars and pastors, there are those who say that John the Baptist was a complete failure. But we need to know this is what ignorant people say. Regarding the role of John the Baptist, the Bible testifies as the following:
“As it is written in the Prophets:
‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
Who will prepare your way before You.’
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight’’” (Mark 1:2-3).
Because John the Baptist passed sin onto Jesus, it was possible for all the wretched people in this world to be washed from their sins. This is because Jesus Christ shouldered all our sins and was condemned for them on the Cross. John the Baptist is not the one who saved us, but his duty was to pass all the sins of mankind onto Jesus in obedience to the will of God. He was one of the most precious servants of God. In the whole land of Judea only John the Baptist could say to the Jews, the Pharisees and the chief priests that they were a brood of vipers. He could say such things because he had the God-given authority as His servant.
You should therefore let your heart be united with this Truth that your sins were all passed onto Jesus. And you must unite with the Truth that Jesus shouldered the sins of the world and was crucified. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and He shouldered all the sins of the world, each and every sin that we have ever committed which we inherited from our parents. He bore all our sins and was condemned in our place with His crucifixion. To become our Savior He was baptized by John the Baptist and was condemned on that Cross. If He had not received this baptism, there would have been no need for Him to go to that terrible Cross.
If you read the Bible carefully, you will see just how important the role of John the Baptist really was. His role was to prepare the way for the Lord (Luke 3:4-6; Isaiah 40:4). Therefore God will send all those whose hearts are arrogant to hell, but for those who truly acknowledge God and fear Him, He has given to them the remission of sins and made them His very own children. This is the righteous will of God and His just work.
Words cannot express just how thankful I am that the Lord took upon all our sins and opened up our blind eyes. Are you also grateful?