The gift of sight to a man born blind is a true miracle, and all judgments of sinfulness on the part of the man’s parents, and indeed he himself, were cast aside by Jesus.
So when the Pharisees investigated this miracle, and took the man to task for their own disbelief, he wasted no time in turning their ungodly abuse of power back upon them.
The real crunch in this encounter is found in the final 7 verses (John 9:35-41) where true meaning is revealed:
Jesus said: “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
The Pharisees couldn’t believe their ears! “What!? Are we blind too?”
Jesus responded: “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (John 9:39-41, variations mine)
Isaiah foreshadowed this encounter in Isaiah 6:9-10, the account of his own calling to be a prophet:
“Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
The apostle Paul often used the analogy of light versus darkness when writing about those in relationship with God, and those not (Ephesians 4:17-24, Colossians 1:12-14). Those who live in the light of the knowledge of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6) will call Him ‘Lord’ and will be free.
Those who will stubbornly refuse to acknowledge their own guilt and thus reject Jesus’ free offer of forgiveness, new life and light, will remain guilty, and worse, blind to their guilt.
They truly do walk in darkness, as the very first chapter of John’s Gospel previews: “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5)