The Blind Pharisee - John 9:18-41

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — I Cor. 2:14

The attitude of the Pharisees is in striking contrast to that of the blind man, of whom we studied in the preceding verses. The blind man had the simple faith of a little child. He was open and frank about the whole matter, telling in a simple way of his own blindness, and the Saviour's power and grace in healing him. He was willing to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus, and to do His bidding. He was humble in His presence, and when the Pharisees would cast aspersions on Jesus, the blind man boldly spoke in His defense, reaffirming the simple facts of his cure. The Pharisees, however, were skeptical concerning the miracle. Then when they were convinced of its reality, they hypocritically advised that thanks be given to God while at the same time they branded God's Son a sinner. Their bigoted prejudice was evident, and their self-righteousness was flagrant. Then after listening to the simple testimony of this humble believer, they rose up in their intolerance and drove him from the synagogue. The blind man, with his simple faith was blessed by the Son of God, but He held the faithless Pharisees responsible for their blind unbelief.

The six things which were so evident in the unbelief of the Pharisees are characteristic of all unbelief in all time, and we may very profitably study the things which contributed to their blindness, and their responsibility before God because of it.


John 9:18-23.

Unbelief is always skeptical concerning any manifestation of God's power. Unbelief faces the mighty miracle of creation, and invents the evolutionary theory to account for it. Then this purely human invention is hailed as one of the greatest scientific "discoveries" ever made. Hundreds of unbelieving "scientists" hurry to find evidence to support it. They guess the ages of fossils, they imagine evidences of descent from one form of life to another, they twist facts to fit their fancies, they seize with avidity upon a portion of a skull, and a single tooth, and from it build their "missing link," then they parade their imaginations, inventions, and perversions of fact with a great show of learning, and "resolve" that evolution is a firmly established fact. Really great discoveries may be made which entirely refute their arguments, and which prove the fallacy of their conclusions, but they cling tenaciously to their theories, and scoff at the man who is so simple as to believe that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Unbelief uses "natural laws" in an attempt to argue out of existence the One Who established those laws. So also unbelief is always ready to explain, on the ground of psychology, the transformation which takes place in the lives of sinners. Unbelief is unwilling to admit the power, and the grace of God, and, like the Pharisees, does not hesitate to attempt to lay unclean hands on the Person of the Son of God, to work Him harm. Psa. 14:1; Rom. 8 :7 ; I Cor. 2:14; I Cor. 1:18, 21-23.


John 9:24-25.

But unbelief does not stop with skepticism. To this sin it adds the sin of hypocrisy. The Pharisees being convinced of the reality of the miracle which had been wrought in their midst, then sought to rob Jesus of the glory for performing it. They said, "Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner." O what blind hypocrisy was theirs. They advised giving God the glory when they rejected the Son of God. They did not know God, for had they known Him they would have believed in the One Whom He had sent. And the accusation that Jesus was a sinner they attempted to holster up by their pretended knowledge. They had sought in vain to convict Him of sin. They deliberately lied when they said, "We know this man is a sinner." They knew no such thing. But this deceptive hypocrisy is manifested constantly in the lives of unbelievers. They constantly seek to be thought more wise, or more religious than they really are. They constantly pretend moral, or spiritual or intellectual attainments which are really not theirs. Evidence of this lies in common arguments of unbelievers who make their boast in their good works. They argue loudly that they think if they do the best they can God will not condemn them, while in their hearts they know that they have miserably failed to live such lives as would be acceptable to men, if they knew them, and surely much less before God. Unbelief is always hypocritical, and makes many pretenses to conceal the miserable truth. Matt. 23:25-33; Matt. 7:1-5; Eph. 4:22.


John 9:26-27.

The Pharisees were so prejudiced against the Lord Jesus that instead of accepting the testimony of the facts, they sought to entangle the healed man in his testimony. There could have been no other reason for their repeating their question as to how he was cured. The testimony of the man who was healed from his blindness was as simple and straightforward as could possibly be. They could not have misunderstood it, but they recognized that the testimony if admitted would make them responsible to accept the Son of God, and this they were determined not to do. So they asked again, "What did He do to thee? How opened He thine eyes?" They sought to get him to contradict himself so they might have an excuse for their unbelief. So it always is with the unbeliever. Instead of facing fairly and honestly the facts of God's grace and power, he seeks to dodge and side-step. He seizes upon the "contra dictions" in the Bible, and in the lives of Christians, and by them seeks to excuse his unbelief. Rom. 1:21-23; Rom. 1:28; Rom. 2:3-5; John 3:19-20; II Pet. 3:5.


John 9:28-33.

Self-righteousness also characterized the Pharisees. They reviled the simple believer and said, "Thou art His disciple; but we are Moses' disciples." O what a world of scorn they put into their words. How contemptuously they spoke of Him. So unbelievers are self-righteous. "I'm as good as any of your church members." "There are too many hypocrites in the church. I wouldn't associate with such folk as that." How familiar such self-righteous statements sound to all of us. Isa. 64:6; Rom. 2:17-23.


John 9:34-38.

Unbelief is always intolerant, while it is the first to cry toleration. The Pharisees rose up and cast the humble believer in Jesus out of the synagogue for his testimony. They could not tolerate him, for his faith overturned their ideas. So the unbeliever cannot tolerate any faith or teaching which disagrees with his own ideas. The Modernists lead in the cry appealing for Christian toleration. They preach such doctrines as "We can love alike with our hearts, though we may not think alike in our heads." But anyone who will carefully observe their practice will be convinced that they fail utterly to practice what they preach. They will cry Christian toleration, while they are deliberately planning and working to oust from the ministry any man who dares to be so wicked as to believe in the Lord's second coming. They will distract the attention of the conservative believer with smooth words, while at the same time they are stealing his money, invested in schools, or missionary activities which he thinks to be safe. Then when any protest is made they rise up in high and mighty indignation. The careful observer is bound to realize that "toleration" to the Modernist means that the conservative must tolerate his activity, while expecting no toleration for his own. In this the Modernist fairly represents all unbelief. Prov. 12:10.


John 9:39-41.

God will not excuse the sin of unbelief, or its kindred sins, but holds the unbeliever responsible. There is coming a time when all sinners shall be judged. Then the thing which God will particularly consider is not how great sinners they have been, but whether they have believed in Jesus. He has already pronounced His sentence. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God." (Jno. 3:18.) In that day God will judge the secrets of men's hearts. But in the meantime He is holding out to them the offer of eternal life and pardon for their sins if they will only believe. The only difference between the Pharisees and the blind man was willingness. Both were alike sinners in God's sight. Both were poor and sinful and needy. But the blind man was willing to hear and believe the message of God's grace, while the sin-blinded Pharisees were not. Rom. 2:1-2; II Thess. 1:7-10; Jno. 3:16; Jno. 5:24; II Pet. 3:9; II Pet. 2:4-9; II Pet. 3:3-7; Jno. 7:17.