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Spiritual Blindness


Fanny Crosby (1820–1915) wrote more than 8,000 hymns, many of which we still sing today. She was also blind. As a young girl she wrote of what others viewed as a disability: “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation.”

Jesus encountered a man who had been blind from birth (v. 1). The disciples assumed his condition was a punishment, the result of a sin committed either by his parents or by him. But Jesus gave a different reason. He said the man was born blind so that “the works of God might be displayed in him” (v. 3). God would transform this deficit into something remarkable.

What happened next was clearly miraculous. Jesus took ordinary dirt, mixed it with His own spit, and covered the man’s eyes. Then He gave him an instruction: “Go . . . wash in the Pool of Siloam” (v. 6). When the man obeyed, his sight was restored.

This miracle to heal physical blindness revealed the spiritual blindness of those who observed it. Their vision was clouded by doubt and skepticism. They thought it was the wrong man (v. 9). They questioned the source of the healing and the event itself (v. 12). Then, they brought him to the religious authorities, who tried to negate it by claiming that miracles should not be performed on the Sabbath (v. 14). Even the man’s parents were questioned.

This episode illustrates the desperate blindness of the human condition. Jesus has offered truth, freedom, healing, and access to God. But those who persist in unbelief will find that sin effectively closes both our hearts and our eyes, blinding us from believing in Jesus (v. 39).

apply the word

While you may not be blind, you no doubt struggle with other disabilities or limitations. It may be easy to wonder what we have done to deserve such punishment. But, as Jesus said, the blind man’s condition was not a result of sin, but intended to bring glory to God. Ask God today to use you—your strengths and your weaknesses—for His glory.

BY Jamie Janosz

Jamie Janosz serves as a content development manager for Moody Bible Institute. She writes monthly devotionals for Today in the Word and has published non-fiction essays with Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Recently Jamie wrote a book titled When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up (Moody Publishers). Jamie studied theology and writing at Moody Bible Institute, Columbia College, and Illinois State University. She lives on the Atlantic coast of Florida with her husband, Milt, and daughter, Sabrina.

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