When the Pharisees asked Jesus sarcastically if they were blind too, they played into his hand. Judgmental blindness affects those who think they see clearly. It turns us into judge and jury instead of salt and light, and we are to be the latter in our world…
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
The Pharisees were being the former, and to them, Jesus said their sight would turn into blindness. They didn’t even think they needed a saviour, and so their spiritual blindness was rooted in their self-righteousness and self-sufficiency.
I see this playing out in some Christian circles today. We are Christ’s representatives in the world today – ministers of reconciliation – and some are preferring to take the role of final judge instead. They are losing the ability to be salt and light because they are focused on the sin of others and the importance of judging people as if they were God. Jesus’ judgment in the world acted contrary to this – he set the sinners free and judged the self-righteous.
The self-righteous today would prefer that sinners would be kept from them so they can live in cleanliness and holiness without the stain and shame of these sinners around them.
Shame. That’s blind Pharisee thinking.
Jesus ate with, befriended, extended mercy to, and healed sinners of every variety. Somehow, Jesus found a way to live out his ministry without falling into the sin of others, and without validating and enabling people in their sin. Sinners loved him. Religious people not so much.
In fact, the only people I can find in my reading in the Bible whom Jesus rejected were people who believed they were already righteous on their own and whom who would not acknowledge their own sin.
And so while Pharisees are looking down their noses at sinners and creating laws which allow them to have less contact with sinners, all under the guise of religious freedom, these Pharisees are missing their role as salt and light in the world and making it more difficult for Jesus-followers to extend his love and mercy to those who desperately need it.
And they miss the fact that they themselves are blind and the sinners are actually sinners just like you and me… we are no different and we all stand in equal need at the foot of the cross.
It’s a blind shame.