Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 9:39

And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blindness;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Self-Righteousness;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Mission;   The Topic Concordance - Blindness;   Jesus Christ;   Judges;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Blindness, Spiritual;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Judgment;   Knowledge;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Blindness;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Mary, the Virgin;   Miracles;   Parable;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Blindness;   Judgment Day;   Sign;   World, the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - World;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Beggar;   Blindness (2);   Dominion (2);   Error;   Hardening of Heart;   Judgment;   Judgment Damnation;   Physical ;   Physician (2);   Poet;   Quotations (2);   Salvation;   Seeing;   Son of God;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Silence;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Blind;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Blindness;   Christ, the Exaltation of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For judgment I am come - I am come to manifest and execute the just judgment of God:

  1. By giving sight to the blind, and light to the Gentiles who sit in darkness.
  • By removing the true light from those who, pretending to make a proper use of it, only abuse the mercy of God.
  • In a word, salvation shall be taken away from the Jews, because they reject it; and the kingdom of God shall be given to the Gentiles.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-9.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    For judgment - The word “judgment,” here, has been by some understood in the sense of condemnation - “The effect of my coming is to condemn the world. But this meaning does not agree with those places where Jesus says that he came not to condemn the world, John 3:17; John 12:47; John 5:45. To judge is to express an opinion in a judicial manner, and also to express any sentiment about any person or thing, John 7:24; John 5:30; Luke 8:43. The meaning here may be thus expressed: “I came to declare the condition of men; to show them their duty and danger. My coming will have this effect, that some will be reformed and saved, and some more deeply condemned.”

    That they … - The Saviour does not affirm that this was the design of his coming, but that such would be the effect or result. He came to declare the truth, and the effect would be, etc. Similar instances of expression frequently occur. Compare Matthew 11:25; Matthew 10:34; “I came not to send peace, but a sword” - that is, such will be the effect of my coming.

    That they which see not - Jesus took this illustration, as he commonly did, from the case before him; but it is evident that he meant it to be taken in a spiritual sense. He refers to those who are blind and ignorant by sin; whose minds have been darkened, but who are desirous of seeing.

    Might see - Might discern the path of truth, of duty, and of salvation, John 10:9.

    They which see - They who suppose they see; who are proud, self-confident, and despisers of the truth. Such were evidently the Pharisees.

    Might be made blind - Such would be the effect of his preaching. It would exasperate them, and their pride and opposition to him would confirm them more and more in their erroneous views. This is always the effect of truth. Where it does not soften it hardens the heart; where it does not convert, it sinks into deeper blindness and condemnation.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-9.html. 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    And Jesus said, For judgment came I into this world, that they that see not may see; and that they that see may become blind.

    Two kinds of "seeing" are in view here, "they that see not" in the first instance referring to the physically blind, and "they that see" in the second instance being a reference to the normal eyesight of the Pharisees, who were, nevertheless, spiritually blind. Thus he came to make the blind see and the seeing blind!

    In these words, Christ indicated his fulfillment of two classes of prophecies, those stating that the Messiah would bring "recovering of sight to the blind" (Isaiah 61:1f), and those stating that certain of the Israelites would be blinded spiritually, "And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive" (Isaiah 6:9,10). See more on judicial hardening in my Commentary on Romans, p. 376.

    For judgment ... In one sense Christ did not come for judgment, but in another sense he did. See under John 3:17; John 5:22f, and John 12:47. In this reference, his actions were producing the hardening of Israel which had been prophesied, that hardening being indeed an act of divine judgment against Israel.

    Evidently, the Pharisees heard the conversation and witnessed the man's worshipping Jesus, as the next verse shows.

    Copyright Statement
    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And Jesus said, for judgment I am come into this world,.... The Syriac version reads, "for the judgment of this world I am come"; and with which agrees the Ethiopic version, "for the judgment of the world I am come into the world"; and the Arabic and Persic versions still more expressly, "to judge this world", or "the world, am I come"; which seems contrary to what Christ elsewhere says, John 3:17. Nor is the sense of the words that Christ came by the judgment of God, or the order of divine providence, or to administer justice in the government of the world, in a providential way, or to distinguish his own people from others, though all these are true; but either to fulfil the purpose and decree of God in revealing truth to some, and hiding it from others; or in a way of judgment to inflict judicial blindness on some, whilst in a way of mercy he illuminated others. So Nonnus interprets it of κριμα θισσον, a twofold "judgment", which is different the one from the other.

    That they which see not, might see; meaning, not so much corporeally as spiritually, since in the opposite clause corporeal blindness can have no place; for though Christ restored bodily sight to many, he never took it away from any person. The sense is, that Christ came as a light into the world, that those who are in the darkness of sin, ignorance, and unbelief, and who are sensible of the same, and desire spiritual illuminations, as this man did, might see what they are by nature, what need they stand in of him, and what fulness of grace, life, righteousness, and salvation, there is in him for them.

    And that they which see might be made blind; that such who are wise and knowing in their own conceit, who fancy themselves to have great light and knowledge, to have the key of knowledge, and to have the true understanding of divine things, and to be guides of the blind, such as the Scribes and Pharisees, might be given up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart, so as to shut their eyes, and harden their hearts against the Gospel, and the truths of it, and which was in judgment to them: such different effects Christ and his Gospel have, as to illuminate and soften some, and blind and harden others; just as some creatures, as bats and owls, are blinded by the sun, whilst others see clearly by the light of it; and as that also has these different effects to soften the wax, and harden the clay; see Isaiah 6:9.

    Copyright Statement
    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-9.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    8 And Jesus said, For g judgment I am come into this world, that they h which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    (8) Christ enlightens all those by the preaching of the Gospel who acknowledge their own darkness, but those who seem to themselves to see clearly enough, those he altogether blinds: and these latter ones are often those who have the highest place in the Church.

    (g) With great power and authority, to do what is righteous and just: as if he said, "These men take upon themselves to govern the people of God after their own desire, as though they saw all things, and no one else did: but I will rule much differently than these men do: for those whom they consider as blind men, them will I enlighten, and those who take themselves to be wisest, them will I drown in most abundant darkness of ignorance.

    (h) In these words of seeing and not seeing there is a secret taunting and rebuff to the Pharisees: for they thought all men to be blind but themselves.

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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-9.html. 1599-1645.

    People's New Testament

    For judgment I am come into this world. The coming of Christ, the Light, reveals human hearts. Publicans and sinners were made to see, while "Jews" and Pharisees, who claimed to be enlightened, were left in darkness, because they closed their eyes. Those blinded are those who would not see.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 9:39". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-9.html. 1891.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    For judgment (εις κριμαeis krima). The Father had sent the Son for this purpose (John 3:17). This world (κοσμοςkosmos) is not the home of Jesus. The κριμαkrima (judgment), a word nowhere else in John, is the result of the κρισιςkrisis (sifting) from κρινωkrinō to separate. The Father has turned over this process of sifting (κρισιςkrisis) to the Son (John 5:22). He is engaged in that very work by this miracle.

    They which see not (οι μη βλεποντεςhoi mē blepontes). The spiritually blind as well as the physically blind (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 42:18). Purpose clause with ιναhina and present active subjunctive βλεπωσινblepōsin (may keep on seeing). This man now sees physically and spiritually.

    And that they which see may become blind
    (και οι βλεποντες τυπλοι γενωνταιkai hoi blepontes tuphloi genōntai). Another part of God‘s purpose, seen in Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21, is the curse on those who blaspheme and reject the Son. Note ingressive aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαιginomai and predicate nominative. οι βλεποντεςHoi blepontes are those who profess to see like these Pharisees, but are really blind. Blind guides they were (Matthew 23:16). Complacent satisfaction with their dim light.

    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
    Bibliographical Information
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-9.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Judgment ( κρίμα )

    Not the act of judgment, but its result. His very presence in the world constitutes a separation, which is the primitive idea of judgment, between those who believe on Him and those who reject Him. See on John 3:17.

    Copyright Statement
    The text of this work is public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-9.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    For judgment am I come into the world — That is, the consequence of my coming will be, that by the just judgment of God, while the blind in body and soul receive their sight, they who boast they see, will be given up to still greater blindness than before.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 9:39". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-9.html. 1765.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    And Jesus said1, For judgment came I into this world2, that they that see not may see3; and that they that see may become blind4.

    1. And Jesus said. Not addressing anyone in particular, but rather as summing up the whole incident.

    2. For judgment came I into this world. The life course of Jesus attracted the needy and repelled the self-satisfied, and was therefore a continuous judgment.

    3. That they that see not may see. Those conscious of their deficiencies and ready to ask for light received it (John 9:36-38).

    4. And that they that see may become blind. Those satisfied with their own opinion became daily more blinded by their bigotry. See John 9:24,34; Matthew 11:25.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-9.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Which see not; which: think they see not; that is, are aware of their blindness and ignorance.--They which see; think they see.--Made blind; convinced of their ignorance, and made humble and lowly-minded.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-9.html. 1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    На суд пришел Я. Слово «суд» здесь нельзя считать наказанием, насылаемым на нечестивых и презрителей Божиих, поелику оно относится к благодати просвещения. Итак, судом Христос зовет то, что Он приводит в порядок расстроенные и пришедшие в упадок дела. Он хочет сказать, что это происходит по чудесному совету Божию, вопреки обычному мнению. Действительно, человеческий разум сочтет за нелепую мысль, что видящие слепнут от света мира. Итак, это один из тайных судов Божиих, низлагающих человеческую гордыню. Далее, следует отметить, что слепота, о которой здесь упоминается, происходит не столько от Христа, сколько от человеческого порока. Ибо никого не делает слепым его собственная природа, но когда отверженные хотят загасить ее свет, они неизбежно закрывают очи от света, очи, испорченные злобой и порочностью. В итоге, поскольку Христос по Своей природе есть свет мира, то, что с Его приходом некоторые слепнут, происходит как бы случайно. Однако можно снова спросить: если все осуждены на одинаковую слепоту, кто же те, которых Христос зовет видящими? Отвечаю: это сказано в качестве уступки и иронично, поскольку неверующие, имея закрытые очи, считают себя однако весьма проницательными и прозорливыми. С таким самоупованием они не удостоиваются выслушивать Бога. Вне Христа такая плотская мудрость проявляется очень ярко: ведь мир не знает, что значит быть воистину мудрым. Итак, Христос называет видящими тех, кто, глупо уповая на свою мудрость, обманывает других и себя, руководствуется собственным разумением, и принимает за мудрость свои никчемные помыслы. Таковые, как только Христос являет Себя в свете Евангелия, тут же слепнут. Не только потому, что их глупость, прежде скрывавшаяся в потемках неверия, становится явной, но и потому, что по праведному суду Божию, погруженные в кромешный мрак, они упускают и тот слабый свет, который у них оставался.

    Мы все рождаемся слепыми, но в потемках испорченной природы блистают еще искорки света, дабы люди отличались от бессловесных тварей. Ныне же, если кто в горделивом уповании на собственный разум откажется повиноваться Богу, то окажется разумеющим вне Христа, и яркость света Христова непременно заставит его еще больше поглупеть. Ведь суета человеческого разума проявляется лишь тогда, когда на свет выходит небесная мудрость. Кроме того, как я уже говорил, Христос хотел выразить этими словами нечто еще. Ведь лицемеры, прежде явления Христова, не столь надменно противятся Богу. Но как только свет приближается к ним, открыто и явно восстают против Создателя. Итак, их порочная неблагодарность удваивает их слепоту, и Бог по праведному суду совершенно закрывает им очи и прежде лишенные истинного света. Теперь подведем итог данного отрывка. Христос пришел в мир, чтобы просветить слепых, тех же, кто казались себе зоркими, Он доводит до безумия. В начале Он упомянул о просвещении, поелику оно было основной причиной Его прихода. Ибо Он пришел не для того, чтобы судить мир, но, скорее, чтобы спасти погибшее. Как и Павел (2Кор.10:6), проповедуя, что отмщает непокорным, одновременно добавляет, что делает это лишь во вторую очередь, когда исполнится послушание верных. И это мщение не следует ограничивать Самой личностью Христа, как будто оно не осуществляется ежедневно через Его служителей. Тем более следует опасаться, дабы кто из нас, ложно думая о мудрости, не навлек на себя страшное наказание. Но опыт учит нас, сколь истинны эти слова Христовы. Ибо мы видим многих лишь потому поражаемых духом гнева и ярости, что они не могли вынести восхода Солнца правды. Жил Адам и был наделен светом истинного познания. Когда же он захотел увидеть больше, чем ему полагалось, то утратил и это божественное благо. И теперь, если погруженные во мрак и смиренные Господом, мы продолжаем угождать себе в такой слепоте и противопоставляем наш безумный разум небесной премудрости, не удивительно, если мщение Божие сделает нас дважды слепыми. Некогда закон наслал на нечестивых то же самое наказание. Ведь Исаия был послан для ослепления древнего народа, дабы тот, и видя, ничего не видел: Ослепи сердце народа сего, и утяжели слух его (Ис.6:9). Однако, чем ярче по сравнению с пророками явил себя во Христе божественный свет, тем заметнее должен был стать этот пример слепоты. Так и сегодня, полдневный свет Евангелия обращает лицемеров в крайнее безумство.

     

     

     

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    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    world

    kosmos = mankind. (See Scofield "Matthew 4:8").

    Copyright Statement
    These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
    Bibliographical Information
    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 9:39". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-9.html. 1917.

    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

    FOR JUDGMENT

    ‘And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.’

    John 9:39

    That is the comment which presents itself to Jesus, as He thinks over this episode of the healing of the blind man. While the blind man had reached belief, the Pharisees had become hardened in unbelief. Christ’s words still remain true, and have a meaning for us now.

    I. It still remains true that in respect of our reception or rejection of His message our Lord came into this world for judgment.—He tells us, indeed, that God sent not His Son to judge the world. Christ’s object in coming was not to judge, but to save. But though judgment was not a motive, it was a necessary result of His coming. ‘He that believeth not hath been judged already’ (ipso facto). Ever since Christ’s first coming on earth, the appeal which He has made to men, generation after generation, has thrown a responsibility on all whom it has reached. It is an appeal to which we are compelled to give an answer of one kind or another, and according to the answer which we give judgment inevitably results. That judgment is not published to the world: often, perhaps, it is not known to our fellow-men; sometimes, perhaps, it is not known to ourselves; constantly, no doubt, it is held in suspense because we have not yet given a final answer. Nevertheless, at any moment in our lives there is something true of us—some judgment which any one who knew the facts perfectly could pronounce about us—as regards our attitude towards the appeal of Christianity. Either we see, or we do not see; either we are getting to see more and more clearly, or we are becoming more and more blind.

    II. We think perhaps nowadays that we can evade this issue.—We say that we cannot make up our minds about the truth of Christianity. We say that the question of its truth or falsehood is too complex or too obscure for us to decide. We call it hard that we should be judged to be blind because we cannot accept unintelligible dogmas, or because the scientific spirit of our age makes it difficult for us to believe in miracles. Our Lord’s language to the Pharisees often seems hard. It is based on the hard fact that if men cannot train their eyes to see, they must be content to be called blind. Do not let us suppose that we can altogether escape responsibility for our beliefs on the ground of the difficulty which we feel about the evidence. The judgment for which Christ came into the world is not primarily connected with questions of evidence, or with the intellectual basis of Christianity. No doubt we are bound to do our best to make our convictions such that our reason can justify them. We must lay aside prejudice, we must try to be absolutely honest with ourselves, we must strive to reach the truth. Christ says, ‘If thou canst believe.’ He does not wish us to force ourselves to believe against the protests of our reason. But, on the other hand, there is something immeasurably more important than reason. It is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness.

    III. It is not difficult nowadays to find examples of both these classes of people.

    (a) There are still people who in some respects resemble the Pharisees. They do not possess the Pharisaical self-righteousness or hypocrisy, it may be. But they are leaders of thought and regard themselves as such, and like the Pharisees they feel a pride in their intellectual superiority to the average man. If their views are criticised, their reply is apt to be: ‘Dost thou teach us?’ It is a mark of philosophical insight, in their opinion, to condemn Christianity as an exploded superstition, and to question its claim as a moral influence in life. About all this they have no doubt whatever, and they feel a good-humoured pity for those who think otherwise. Like the Pharisees, they say, We see. But is it uncharitable to suggest that in some respects they are all the while really blind?

    (b) What a contrast it is to turn to the opposite type of character, which begins by not seeing and eventually comes to see! Still there are in the world simple, humble-minded natures, the little children whom our Saviour bids us resemble, the babes to whom the Father reveals those things which He has hidden from the wise and prudent. It does not follow that they are unintellectual, though they are modest about their attainments, and recognise the limitations of all human knowledge. It does not follow, on the other hand, that they are always able to grapple with the intellectual difficulties which beset Christianity. But they possess a higher wisdom which justifies them in refusing to be separated from the love of Christ. And then Christ, if they will let Him, finds them in their loneliness and distress, as He found that poor man. And the dialogue between Christ and their soul, like the dialogue between Christ and the newly-seeing blind man, ends with the words, ‘Lord, I believe,’ as they fall down and worship their Saviour.

    —Rev. Dr. Woods.

    Illustration

    ‘There is a sense, it has been said, in which this man was the first Christian. He was the first follower of Christ who had wholly severed his connection with Judaism; his religious life was now centred on Christ alone; his faith was grounded on a direct revelation by the witness of Christ Himself to his soul. The casting out of this man by the Pharisees, says Bishop Westcott, “furnished the occasion for the beginning of a new society distinct from the dominant Judaism. For the first time the Lord offers Himself as the object of faith. He had before called men to follow Him; He had revealed Himself and accepted the spontaneous homage of believers; but now He proposes a test of fellowship. The universal society is based on the confession of a new truth. The blind who acknowledge their blindness are enlightened; the seeing who are satisfied with their sight are proved to be blind.”’

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 9:39". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-9.html. 1876.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    Ver. 39. For judgment I am come] To judge, much otherwise than those unjust judges have done, that have cast out this poor servant of mine for a blasphemer. Bishop Bonner having a blind harper before him, said, that such blind abjects, that follow a sort of heretical preachers, when they come to the feeling of the fire, will be the first that will flee from it. To whom the blind man said, that if every joint of him were burnt, yet he trusted in the Lord not to flee. A blind boy, that had suffered imprisonment at Gloucester not long before, was brought to Bishop Hooper the day before his death. Mr Hooper, after he had examined him on his faith, and the cause of his imprisonment, beheld him stedfastly, and the water appearing in his eyes, said unto him: "A poor boy, God hath taken from thee thy outward sight, for what consideration he best knoweth, but hath given thee another sight much more precious: for he hath endued thy soul with the eye of knowledge, and faith," &c. It is a worthy speech of Mr Beza upon this text, Prodeant omnes Pharisaeorum nostri temporis Academia. Let all our University Pharisees come forth together: that blind and heretical Church (as they call it) hath, by the blessing of God, children of seven years old that can before all the world confute and confound their erroneous doctrines, Habet ecclesia illa caeca et heretica septennes pueros, qui teste universo mundo, &c.: witness the children of Merindal and Chabriers, John Ferry’s child of eight years old, that told Bonner’s chaplain (who said Fetty was a heretic,) My father is no heretic, but you are a heretic, for you have Balaam’s mark. This child they whipped to death. Alice Driver, martyr, nonplussed all the doctors that examined her: and then said, God be honoured; you be not able to resist the Spirit of God in me a poor woman. I was never brought up in the University as ye have been: but I have driven the plough many a time before my father, and yet I will set my foot against the feet of any of you all, &c.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 9:39". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-9.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    John 9:39. And Jesus said, For judgment, &c.— In these words directed to the people who happened to be present, or to come up while Jesus was talking with the blind man, our Lord alluded to the cure lately performed; but his meaning was spiritual, representing not the design of his coming, but the effect which it would have on the minds of men. It would shew what character and disposition every man was of. The teachable and honest, though they were as much in the dark with respect to religion, and the knowledge of the scriptures, as the blind man had been with respect to the light of the sun, should be spiritually enlightened by his coming: whereas those who in their own opinion were wise, and learned, and clear-sighted, should appear to be, what they really were, blind, that is, quite ignorant and foolish.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 9:39". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-9.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    In these words our Saviour declares not the intentional design, but the accidental event, of his coming into the world, namely,

    1. That those who were blind might receive sight.

    2. That those who presume they see, and know more that others, for despising the gospel, and shutting their eyes against the light of it, should be left in darkness, and by the just judgment of God be more be more and more blinded.

    Those who shut their eyes willfully against the clearest light, and say they will not see: it is just with God to close their eyes judicially, and say they shall not see.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 9:39". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-9.html. 1700-1703.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    39.] There seems to be an interval between the last verse and this, and the narrative appears to be taken up again at some subsequent time when this miracle became again the subject of discourse.

    The blind man had recovered sight in two senses,—bodily and spiritual. And as our Lord always treats of the spiritual as paramount, including the bodily, so here He proceeds to speak of spiritual sight.

    κρῖμα, the effect of κρίσις, not merely distinction, but judgment; the following out of the divine εὐδοκία, Matthew 11:25-26.

    “We are all, according to the spirit of nature, no better than persons born blind; and to know and confess this our blindness, is our first and only true sight, out of which the grace of the Lord can afterwards bring about a complete receiving of sight. The ‘becoming blind,’ on the other hand, is partly an ironical expression for remaining blind, but partly also has a real meaning in the increasing darkening and hardening which takes place through unbelief.” (Stier, iv. 568; 475, edn. 2.) The βλέποντες here answer to the ἰσχύοντες and δίκαιοι of Matthew 9:12-13; see note there.

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 9:39". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-9.html. 1863-1878.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 1661

    DISCRIMINATING EFFECTS OF THE GOSPEL

    John 9:39. Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they who see might be made blind.

    THE miracles of our blessed Lord were, as is well known, testimonies from God to his divine mission. But they were also intended as emblems of that spiritual work which he was sent to accomplish. In the former view, he appealed to them for the conviction of John the Baptist, and of those who had been sent by John to inquire respecting his Messiahship: “Go, and shew John those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up: and blessed is he who shall not be offended in me [Note: Matthew 11:4-6.].” In the latter view, he refers to them in the passage before us. He had healed a man who was born blind. This having been done on the Sabbath-day, his obstinate and unbelieving enemies imputed it to him as a crime, rather than as any proof of his Messiahship: but the man who was healed, knowing that “no man could do such miracles unless God were with him,” believed in Jesus, and confessed him openly as the Saviour of the world. From the division thus caused, our Lord took occasion to declare, in reference to the souls of men, the intent, and certain effect, of his advent: “For judgment am I come into this world; that they who see not, might see; and that they who see, might be made blind.”

    The true import of this passage will not be seen by a superficial observer. It needs much consideration: but it will amply repay all the labour which we can bestow in the investigation of it.

    To assist you in apprehending it aright, I will shew,

    I. The need there was of Christ for the developing and disclosing the characters of men—

    The judgment which was universally formed of men’s characters was extremely erroneous—

    [Men had no other test, whereby to try the human character, than that of moral virtue. If a person had such a respect for the Supreme Being as to be observant of external duties towards him, and such a disposition towards his fellow-creatures as prompted him to acts of benevolence towards them, he was approved, and regarded as a pattern of all that was good. Hence it was that the Scribes and Pharisees were held in such high esteem. Humility, as a grace, was not inquired after; nor indeed was it at all necessary to the discharge of those offices which alone were deemed obligatory in the service of God. On the contrary, the fulfilment of religious duties was considered as a just ground for self-admiration and self-applause. Such men, indeed, as David, who were inspired of God, had the same ideas of it as we have: but, as among the Greeks and Romans, so also amongst the Jews themselves, it was rather reckoned as a mean and base feeling, than as the summit of human excellence. Nor, if it had entered into the composition of virtue in their minds, were there any means of discovering its existence. The submission of human wisdom to that which is divine was not called for to any great extent: nor was a renunciation of a man’s own righteousness demanded, in order to his acceptance through a righteousness provided for him by God. General obedience to acknowledged laws constituted the chief excellence of every man; and beyond that nothing was looked for, in order to secure the approbation of God. But all this was erroneous: yea, in relation to it all, it may be said, that “that which was highly esteemed amongst men was an abomination in the sight of God [Note: Luke 16:15.].”]

    Hence arose a necessity for our blessed Lord to come into the world—

    [Doubtless, the first ground of his advent was to make reconciliation for the sins of men, and to work out a righteousness for them by his own obedience unto death. But subordinate to this was the purpose specified in our text: “For judgment came I into this world.” To understand this expression aright, we must call to mind the office of a Judge. He inquires into the particular facts which are brought before him, and determines the characters of men according to those facts. Now, what an earthly judge does in reference to overt acts, that the Lord Jesus Christ does in reference to secret dispositions. He brings with him a revelation calculated to elicit the dispositions of the heart, and to shew what men really are in the sight of God. Hence, at the time when his parents brought him to the temple, to do for him after the custom of the law, it was said concerning him, “This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed [Note: Luke 2:34-35.].”]

    But I will proceed to mark more distinctly,

    II. The suitableness of his appearance to produce that discovery—

    The whole of his appearance, from the first to the latest hour of his existence upon earth, was calculated to offend the pride of man—

    [See him at his birth. Behold him born in the family of a poor carpenter; and laid in a manger, because there was no better accommodation for his mother, under circumstances which, it might have been supposed, would have called forth sympathy and liberality from ten thousand bosoms. Is this the Son of God? Impossible: it can never be, that Almighty God should suffer him to come into the world under circumstances of such unparalleled degradation.

    See him, too, in his life. Behold him still so poor, as not to have a place where to lay his head: a few poor fishermen for his followers; and an object of scorn and derision to all the higher parts of the community. Were I to give a just description of him, I could not do it in more appropriate terms than in those of prophecy itself: “He shall be as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness: and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him: he was despised, and we esteemed him not [Note: Isaiah 53:2-3.].” Yet this is the person who offers himself to me as the Saviour of the world!

    See him, finally, in his death. This completes the scene. He is sentenced to death, both by the men of his own nation and by the Roman governor; and, by universal consent, is executed as a malefactor; a murderer being preferred before him, as a fitter object of mercy than he. And is He to save me, when he did not save himself? Is He to deliver me from the wrath of God, who himself fell under the wrath of man? I wonder not that such an idea was a ground of offence; for throughout the whole there was an apparent inconsistency with all his own professions, and an absolute contrariety to all the expectations that were formed concerning him. Is this the person that came from God, and “made himself equal with God,” and through whom alone any child of man can come to God, or find acceptance with him? Unenlightened reason discards at once such pretensions as these, and rejects them utterly as irrational and absurd. And this is exactly what the prophet has foretold: “He, the Lord Jesus, shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken [Note: Isaiah 8:14-15.].”]

    On the other hand, he gave sufficient evidence of his Messiahship to convince any humble inquirer—

    [The testimony borne to him by angels at his birth, the descent of the Holy Ghost upon him at his baptism, the numberless miracles wrought by him in his life, the wonders attendant on his death, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension to heaven, his sending of the Holy Ghost on his Disciples, and all the miracles wrought by them in his name, these were evidences which an humble mind could not withstand. Besides, to those who felt their need of a Saviour, there was every thing which was suited to their necessities. A mere man would not have sufficed for them: they needed a Saviour who was God as well as man: they needed an atonement of infinite value; a righteousness fully adequate to all the demands of God’s holy law, and capable of being imputed to them for their acceptance before God. They needed not only the sacrifice of Christ on earth, but also his intercession in heaven; yea, and his all-powerful agency, too, as the Head of vital influence to his Church and people: in a word, they needed precisely such a Saviour as he had represented himself to be: and, though the whole relating to him was involved in mystery which they could not comprehend, they saw in it nothing but what was honourable to the character of God, and nothing but what was conducive to the happiness of man. Hence they were content to receive the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, and to found all their hopes of happiness on him alone.

    Thus in him was found precisely such a test as the world needed: and]

    The use of this test was seen in,

    III. The actual effect of his advent—

    Mark the effect of his advent:

    1. Whilst he himself was on earth—

    [This discrimination of character was seen from the first moment that he entered on his ministry. Never did more gracious words proceed from the lips of man, than those which were uttered by him in his first public discourse at Nazareth; insomuch, that “all who heard them bare him witness, and wondered [Note: Luke 4:18-22.]:” yet, upon his reminding them of two events in their history, the sending of the Prophet Elijah to be supported by a Sidonian (a heathen), and not an Israelitish widow; and the healing of a leprosy, by the Prophet Elisha, in the person of Naaman, a Syrian, and not of any of the lepers that were in Israel; they were instantly fired with such indignation and wrath, that “they thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong,” and destroy him [Note: Luke 4:25-29.]. Now, what was there in his discourse to produce so instantaneous a change? The Jews considered themselves as exclusively the objects of God’s regard; and they could not endure the thought that he should have mercy in reserve for the Gentiles: and the suggestion of this was in their minds an evil worthy of death. Again: when our blessed Lord wrought miracles in confirmation of his word, many, instead of yielding to conviction, took occasion, from the very works which they could not but acknowledge to be miraculous, to accuse him of a confederacy with the devil: and, in the very passage before us, they made his restoring a man to sight on the Sabbath-day a ground rather of accusation against him, as a sinner, than of acknowledging him to be, what he really was, the true Messiah. And to his latest hour they evinced the same spirit, calling out for a sentence of death against him; when his very Judge declared him innocent, and not a person upon earth could be found to convict him of the slightest sin. Nor was it the mere populace who thus persecuted him: they were only instruments in the hands of their superiors: it was the act of the Scribes and Pharisees, and of all who presided in their nation, whether in the Ecclesiastical or Civil department: and this shewed how, by his ministry, their hypocrisy was detected: and that, in the midst of all their pretended piety, they were decided enemies to God in their hearts.]

    2. In the whole of the apostolic age—

    [The preaching of his name was productive of the very same effect as his personal ministry had produced. It was universally “to the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:23.].” If we except the instance of the Saviour himself, there never existed, from the foundation of the world, such a contest as that which was maintained by the Apostle Paul; he doing every thing that man could do, and suffering every thing that man could suffer, for the salvation of a perishing world; and they, whether Jews or Gentiles, uniformly and universally seeking his destruction. The same treatment was shewn to all the Apostles, and to all the followers of Christ, in proportion as they, by their activity and zeal, drew the attention of those to whom they ministered; insomuch that, with the exception of John, not one of the Apostles was suffered to die a natural death.

    On the other hand, there were many to whom the mystery of the Gospel was “the wisdom of God and the power of God [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:24.].” In all its provisions they beheld an excellency and glory: and they found, by experience, that it was “the power of God to the salvation of their souls [Note: Romans 1:16.].” And who were they that thus displayed its energy? Were they the great, the wise, the moral? No: “ye see your calling,” says St. Paul, “how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.]:” so fully did the Gospel answer the end predicted by the prophet; “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed [Note: Isaiah 6:9-10.].”]

    3. At the present hour—

    [No where is Christ faithfully preached, but “a division” is made among the people: and in all the families where his truth prevails, “a sword” is introduced, even amongst the nearest and dearest relatives [Note: Matthew 10:34-36 and Luke 12:51-53.]. No caution in the preacher will suffice to abate the enmity of the heart against God. Only let Christ be exalted, and some will call the preacher an enthusiast and deceiver, whilst others will “regard him as an angel of God, or even as Christ Jesus himself [Note: Galatians 4:14-15.].” The very same word is still, as in the days of old, “a savour of life to the salvation of some, and a savour of death to the condemnation of others [Note: 2 Corinthians 2:16.].” And so far are the admired characters of the world from being most favourable to the truth, that even “publicans and harlots enter into heaven before them:” so true is it still, as in the days of old, that “the last are first, and the first last.”]

    And now let me address myself,

    1. To those who are unconscious of their own blindness—

    [This was the state of the Pharisees, to whom our Lord addressed the words of my text. Perceiving that he had in his mind a reference to them, they confidently and indignantly asked, “Are we blind also?” But our blessed Lord told them that their conceit only tended to enhance and aggravate their guilt. If they had, indeed, never been favoured with means of instruction, they would have had the less to answer for: but, in proportion as they supposed themselves already informed, they shewed their impiety in rejecting him [Note: ver. 40, 41.]. Now this is the very caution which I would give to you: The more confident you are that you are already in possession of the truth, the more you make it manifest that “Satan hath blinded your eyes:” for to make you reject Christ, is the work in which that subtle adversary is incessantly engaged [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 4:6.]. O! learn this humiliating truth, that you “are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;” and you will then have no difficulty in discovering the excellency of Christ, who offers to you “gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and eye-salve, that you may see; and raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness may not appear [Note: Revelation 3:18.].” Only resemble the man who was willing and desirous to believe, and Christ will soon make himself known to you, in all his excellency, and in all his glory [Note: ver. 35–38.].]

    To those who are willing to be taught of God—

    [The docility of a little child is one of the choicest gifts that can possibly be bestowed upon you. It is a certain prelude to divine instruction, and the best preparative for all the blessings of the Gospel. You need not be discouraged at the thought of your own weakness: for “what God has hid from the wise and prudent, it is his delight to reveal to babes [Note: Matthew 11:25-26.].” “The wise he will leave to be taken in their own craftiness [Note: Isaiah 29:14. with 1 Cor. 19, 20.]:” but the more you are “a fool” in your own estimation, the more certainly and effectually shall you be made truly wise [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:18-20.]. The Holy Spirit is promised to you, as “a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ [Note: Ephesians 1:17-18.]:” and though the Gospel must ever remain to you an unfathomable mystery, you shall have such an insight into it as no unenlightened man can have [Note: Matthew 13:11.], and by means of it be “guided safely into the way of peace.”]

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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on John 9:39". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/john-9.html. 1832.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    John 9:39. An Oxymoron, to which Jesus (comp. 1 Corinthians 1:18 ff.), seeing at His feet the man born blind, and now endued not only with bodily, but also with spiritual sight, gives utterance with profound emotion, addressing Himself, moreover, not to any one particular person (hence εἶπεν without the addition of a person, comp. John 1:29; John 1:36), but to those around Him in general. From among these the Pharisees then (John 9:40) come forward to reply. The compact, pregnant sentence is uttered irrespectively of the man who had been blind, who also in a higher sense appears in John 9:36 as still μὴ βλέπων, and in ver 38 as βλέπων.

    εἰς κρῖμα] telically, i.e. to this end, as is clear from the more exact explanation ἵνα, etc., that follows. This κρῖμα(53) is an end, though not the ultimate end, of the appearance of Jesus. He came to bring about, as a matter of fact, a judicial decision; He came, namely, in order that, by means of His activity, those who see not might see, i.e. in order that those who are conscious of the lack of divine truth (comp. the poor in spirit in Matthew 5:3) might be illumined thereby, and they who see might become blind (not merely: appareant caeci, as Grotius and several others explain), i.e. those who fancy themselves to be in possession of divine truth (comp. Luke 11:52; Matthew 11:25; Romans 2:19; 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 3:18), might not become participators therein; but (comp. Isaiah 6:9 f.) be closed, blinded, and hardened against it (like the self-conceited Pharisees). The point of the saying lies in this: that οἱ μὴ βλέποντες is subjective, and βλέπωσι objective; whereas οἱ βλέποντες is subjective, and τυφλοὶ γένωνται objective.(54)

    κρῖμα is neither merely separation (Castalio, Corn. a Lapide, Kuinoel, De Wette, and several others), nor equivalent to κατάκρισις (Ammonius, Euth. Zigabenus, Olshausen); but what Christ here says regarding Himself is a matter of fact, a retributive judicial arrangement, affecting both sides according to the position they take up relatively to Him. Hence there is no contradiction with John 3:17, John 8:15, John 12:47. Comp. also Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 186 f. If, with Godet, we understand οἱ μὴ βλέποντες and οἱ βλέποντες of those who have not and those who have the knowledge of the Jewish law, we must refer βλέπωσι and τυφλοί to the divine truth which Christ reveals. A twofold relation is thus introduced, to which the words λέγετε ὅτι βλέπομεν, John 9:41, are also opposed.

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 9:39". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-9.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    John 9:39. κρίμα, judgment) just and true, better than that of the Pharisees.— βλέπωσι, may see) in body and mind— οἱ βλέποντες, who see) who suppose that they are possessed of sight, and are not conscious that they are blind: John 9:41, “Now ye say, We see.”— τυφλοί, blind) in mind.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 9:39". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-9.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    There is a great variety in interpreters notions about the judgment here mentioned. Some think that by it is meant the Divine counsel and decree: I am come into the world, to execute the just will, and counsel, and pleasure of my Father: and the event of it is this, that some who saw not, see; and some who see, in a sense are made blind. Others understand it of condemnation; I am come to execute the judgment of condemnation: but thus it is hardly reconcilable to John 3:17, where it is said, that God sent not his Son to condemn the world. The best notion of it is theirs who interpret it of the spiritual government of the world, committed to Christ, and managed by him with perfect rectitude and equity. One eminent part of this was his publishing the gospel, the law of faith. The event of which is, that many spiritually blind, and utterly unable to see the way that leads to eternal life, might (as this person that was born blind is now clear sighted) be enlightened with the saving knowledge of the truth; and many that think they see, should by their obstinate infidelity be more blind than they were from their birth. Not that I cast any such ill influence upon them; but this happeneth through their own sore eyes. I am the light of the world; and as it is of the nature of light to make other things visible to men; and it hath its effect, and doth so, where men’s eyes are not ill affected with humours and the like; so the light of my gospel, by which I shine in the world, makes the way of salvation by me, ordained by my Father, Acts 3:18, evident and clear to many souls who are in darkness and the shadow of death: but it so happeneth, through the prejudices that others are prepossessed with against me, and the doctrine of my gospel by which I shine in the world, so full of ignorance, malice, and hatred against me and the doctrine which I bring; that through their own perverseness, and the righteous judgment of God, at last giving men over to their own delusions, they are made more blind. In this sense this scripture agreeth with what was prophesied by Isaiah 8:14, And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the words of Simeon in Luke 2:34, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; as also with that of Paul, Romans 9:33.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 9:39". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-9.html. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    на суд Целью прихода Иисуса было не осуждение, а спасение (12:47; Лк. 19:10); тем не менее спасение одних вызывает осуждение других (см. пояснения к 3:16-21). Последняя часть этого стиха взята из Ис. 6:10; 42:19 (ср. Мк. 4:12).

    невидящие Люди, понимающие, что они находятся в духовной темноте.

    видящие С иронией это слово применено к людям, думающим, что они ходят во свете, но это не так (ср. Мк. 2:17; Лк. 5:31).

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 9:39". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-9.html.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    For judgment; that those who feel their spiritual blindness, and apply to me for sight, may receive it; and that those who do not, but proudly imagine that they see enough already, and reject my aid, may sink in deeper darkness, and be more blind than ever. The effect upon men of Christ’s teaching, is according to their treatment of it. This depends very much on their views of themselves, and of their need of his aid. If they feel that they are spiritually blind, and apply to him for sight, they will receive it; while others who view his help as needless, and think they see and know enough already, will remain in darkness, and their sin and consequent punishment be greater than if Christ had never come.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-9.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    39.For judgment—For a judicial dealing by which those who close their eyes may have them sealed; and

    vice versa. Which see not—As this man saw not physically, but was made to see, so those who see not spiritually are made to see.

    They which see—Which wilfully refuse right seeing in order to see falsely.

    Made blind—Made to lose the power and chance of seeing truth, and left to the real blindness of their false seeing.

     

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-9.html. 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that they who see not may see, and that they who see might become blind”.’

    The scene now changes. We now have a general statement made by Jesus in the presence of others, including some Pharisees who were standing by, which the author tacks on here as summing up the incident. ‘I came into this world for judgment, that those who do not see might see, and that those who see might become blind’.

    Jesus now declared that His coming into the world could only result in judgment, discerning between the true and the false. As a result of it those who seemed to be blind would have their eyes opened and they would see the truth, whilst those who claimed to be able to see would be revealed to be blind. We can compare John 3:19-21. ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil’ When the light of Christ shines men are faced with a choice. Some, whose eyes are opened, will gladly respond to the light, but there are also some who will avoid the light and choose to remain in darkness, and so, although they physically have sight, they do not see spiritually or have their eyes opened. And that was why He had come. He had not come to judge, but His presence necessarily judged.

    Alas, when that light shines there are many who would claim to have spiritual sight, who turn away, because they do not want the searchlight of God revealing the truth about them, ‘because their deeds are evil’ (evil if only in motive or self-satisfaction). So by His coming Jesus was causing judgment to be passed on men, and the result was to be seen in their response to His light.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-9.html. 2013.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Jesus concluded His comments to the man by explaining something of His purpose in the Incarnation.

    "The last three verses of chapter ix make it clear that this incident has been recorded primarily because it is an acted parable of faith and unbelief, and therefore of judgment, a theme that is never absent for long from this Gospel." [Note: Tasker, p126. Cf. Beasley-Murray, p161.]

    Jesus" primary purpose was to save some, but in doing so He had to pass judgment (Gr. krima, cf. John 3:17-21; John 3:36; John 12:47). Judging was the result of His coming, not the reason for it. The last part of the verse consists of two purpose clauses. Jesus was evidently alluding to Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 42:19. His coming inevitably involved exposing the spiritual blindness of some so they might recognize their blindness, turn to Jesus in faith, and see (cf. John 9:25; John 9:36). Conversely His coming also involved confirming the spiritual blindness of those who professed to see spiritually but really did not because of their unbelief (cf. John 9:16; John 9:22; John 9:24; John 9:29; John 9:34). Jesus is the pivot on which all human destiny turns. [Note: Tenney, " John," p105.] Jesus explained that what had happened to this man and the Pharisees was an example of what His whole ministry was about. [Note: See Stephen S. Kim, "The Significance of Jesus" Healing the Blind Man in John 9," Bibliotheca Sacra167:667 (July-September2010):307-18.]

    ". . . a certain poverty of spirit (cf. Matthew 5:3), an abasement of personal pride (especially over one"s religious opinions), and a candid acknowledgment of spiritual blindness are indispensable characteristics of the person who receives spiritual sight, true Revelation, at the hands of Jesus ..." [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p378.]

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-9.html. 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    John 9:39. And Jesus said, For a judgment came I into this world, that they which see not may see, and that they which see may become blind. The rendering ‘a judgment’ may serve to remind us of the fact that our Lord (here using a word which is not found elsewhere in the Gospel) does not speak of the act of judging, but of the result. He does not say that He came in order to judge, but that the necessary effect of His coming into this world, a world alienated from God, will be a judgment. Those that see not (the ‘babes’ of Matthew 11:25) come to Him for sight: those that see (the ‘wise and prudent’), who know the law and are satisfied with that knowledge, and who having all the guidance which should have led them to Christ do not come, ‘become blind,’—lose all light through losing Him. Knowledge which has priceless value for pointing the way to Christ becomes accursed if put in His place as an object of trust. It is possible that, as the word ‘judge’ seems elsewhere in this Gospel always to have the force of a condemning judgment, this sense should be preserved here also: in the one case the judgment is passed on acknowledged blindness, for they themselves who come to the light pass a condemnation on the blindness of their past state; in the other, judgment is passed upon supposed (or rather upon misused) sight. Thus both classes have a part in the ‘judgment:’ the one by appropriating as just the judgment of Jesus on their blindness apart from Him; the other by deliberately shutting their eyes to the true light. The result of this wilful action is utter blindness,—not merely a disuse of sight, but a destruction of the power of sight.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-9.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    John 9:39. Summing up the spiritual significance of the miracle Jesus said: . “For judgment,” for bringing to light and exhibiting in its consequences the actual inward state of men; “that those who see not may see,” that is, that those who are conscious of their blindness and grieved on account of it may be relieved; while those who are content with the light they have lose even that. With a kind of sad humour He points out how easily felt blindness is removed, but how obstinately blind is presumed knowledge. The blind man now saw, because he knew he was blind and used the means Jesus told him to use: the Pharisees were stone-blind to the world Jesus opened to them, because they thought that already they knew much more than He did.

     

     

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 9:39". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-9.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    For judgment I am come into this world. Christ said (chap. iii. 17.) that God did not send his Son to judge the world: the same he repeats; (John xii. 47.) nor is this contradictory to those words: the meaning here is not that he is come to exercise the office of a judge, but he tells them what will be the consequences of his coming, and their refusing to believe in him, that they shall be justly punished with the greatest severity for their wilful blindness. (Witham) --- Jesus Christ came into the world that the pagans, who were yet in darkness, might receive light, and that the Jews, who enjoyed the light, might fall into darkness. The Jews were thus condemned, on account of their presumption and hardness of heart, and grace was granted to the Gentiles to enter into the true Church. These are the designs of the Almighty upon mankind, some of whom remain in infidelity, whilst others receive the light of faith; but all is done by the secret and impenetrable decrees of the justice and wisdom of God. The Holy Ghost, by these words, tells us only what was to be the event, not what was the cause of these things. We must seek for the cause of them in the malice of the heart of man, and in the depth of the judgments of God. (Calmet) --- I am come, &c. Not that Christ came for that end, that any one should be made blind; but that the Jews, by the abuse of his coming, and by their not receiving him, brought upon themselves this judgment of blindness. (Challoner)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 9:39". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-9.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    For judgment I am come. Referring to the effect of His coming: John 12:47 refers to the object of His coming.

    For. Greek. eis. App-104.

    judgment. App-177.

    into. Greek. eis.

    be made = become.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 9:39". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-9.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    And Jesus said - perhaps at the same time, but after a crowd, including some of the sceptical and scornful rulers, had, on seeing Jesus talking with the healed youth, hastened to the spot.

    For judgment I am come [or 'came I' eelthon (G2064)] that they which see not might see - rising to that sight of which the natural vision communicated to the youth was but the symbol (see the note at John 9:5, and compare Luke 4:18).

    And that they which see might be made blind - judicially incapable of apprehending and receiving the truth, to which they have willfully shut their eyes. See the note at Matthew 13:12.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-9.html. 1871-8.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    39. I came to this world to judge. Not as a “judge on the bench,” but to force people to “sort themselves out.” Compare notes on Matthew 11:25; John 6:37. Those who “become blind,” refuse to see Truth.

     

     

     

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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-9.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (39) For judgment I am come into this world.—These words arise immediately out of what has preceded. The beggar has passed from a state of physical blindness, and has received the faculty of sight. He has passed from a state of spiritual blindness, and has received the power to recognise and believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He did not see, but the result of the manifestation of the Messiah is for him that he now does see. Conscious of his own spiritual blindness, he asked, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?” and to him, as to every earnest and humble seeker after truth, because in all his seeming need he really “hath,” there is given that he may “have more abundance.” In marked contrast to this spirit of humility and desire to come to the light, was that of the Pharisees. They claimed to have the “key of knowledge” (Matthew 11:25), and were, as a Pharisee represents him who is “called a Jew,” “confident that they were guides of the blind, lights of them which are in darkness” (Romans 2:17 et seq.; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 3:18). Conscious of their own spiritual light, they felt no need of a truer Light, and therefore could not see it; and from them, as from every careless and self-trusting possessor of truth, because, in all his seeming abundance, he really “hath not,” there is taken away “even that he hath.” (Comp. Note on John 1:16.)

    This passing from darkness to light, and from light to darkness, suggests thoughts which our Lord has already uttered in John 3:17-19, and which will meet us again more fully in John 12:37-50. (See Notes on these passages.) Judgment is not the ultimate end of His coming, for He came to save the world; but it is an end, and therefore a result. The special form of the word rendered “judgment” in this place is used nowhere else by St. John, and indicates that what is here thought of is not the act of judging, but the concrete result—the sentence pronounced after judgment. His coming was a bringing light into the darkness of men’s hearts, a testing of the false and the true, and as men accepted or rejected Him they pronounced a judicial sentence upon themselves. That light judged no man, and yet by it every man was judged.

    That they which see not might see.—The force of these words lies in the fact that the phrases, “they which see not” and “they which see,” are to be interpreted as from their own point of view—“That they which think they see not might really see; and that they which think they see might really be made blind.”

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-9.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
    For
    3:17; 5:22-27; 8:15; Jeremiah 1:9,10; Luke 2:34; 13:30; 2 Corinthians 2:16
    that they
    25,36-38; 8:12; 12:46; Matthew 11:5; Luke 1:79; 4:18; 7:21; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Peter 2:9
    might be
    3:19; 12:40,41; Isaiah 6:9; 29:10; 42:18-20; 44:18; Matthew 6:23; 13:13-15; Luke 11:34,35; Romans 11:7-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 John 2:11
    Reciprocal: 2 Kings 6:18 - Smite this people;  Job 24:13 - rebel;  Psalm 119:18 - Open;  Isaiah 29:14 - for the wisdom;  Isaiah 35:5 - the eyes;  Isaiah 42:7 - open;  Isaiah 42:19 - Who is blind;  Isaiah 50:11 - This shall;  Ezekiel 12:2 - which;  Hosea 14:9 - but;  Zechariah 11:17 - the sword;  Malachi 3:2 - who may abide;  Matthew 11:25 - because;  Matthew 23:16 - ye blind;  Mark 10:52 - he received;  Luke 14:21 - Go;  Luke 18:43 - he;  Luke 20:7 - that;  John 8:26 - to judge;  John 9:7 - and came;  Acts 13:11 - thou;  1 Corinthians 2:8 - for;  2 Corinthians 3:14 - their;  1 Timothy 1:13 - because

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 9:39". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-9.html.

    Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

    Ver. 39. "And Jesus said. For judgment I am come into this world; that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind."

    Jesus made what had taken place the basis of an utterance which excited a conflict betwixt Him and the Pharisees. The universal truth which He here declared, had had its exemplification both in the blind man and the Pharisees, Jesus did not speak only to His disciples, but had all who were present in His view. And as the Pharisees would necessarily take offence at His saying, we may conclude that our Lord foresaw it, and spoke intentionally. κρίσις is, in ch. John 3:19, the judicial act, and κρίμα the product of it. To both portions of the company, what had passed was a judicial act; both received their rights: those who sought the path found it, according to the rule which Wisdom in Proverbs 8:17 laid down, "I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me." The declaration that Jesus came into the world for judgment, is not contradictory to ch. John 3:17, where it is said that God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved; for in that passage it is only the first and proper design of the mission of Christ that is spoken of. And here, in harmony with that passage, the saving work upon those who see not takes precedence of the destroying work upon those who see. But, at the same time, that the seeing become blind, must be regarded as a design, because it is the necessary consequence of the manifestation of Christ. Consistently with this saying, our Lord, in Matthew 11:25, thanks God, not merely that He had revealed truth to the babes, but also that He had hidden it from the wise. The result, therefore, must accordingly have been one desired and willed by Himself. When the blinding of the wise was placed under the point of view of a Divine judgment, this removed an objection which might be taken—namely, that the chief representatives of Judaism and its culture turned away from Jesus,—those chief men who were beyond all others, as it seemed, fit to test the evidences of His Divine mission.

    When Jesus spoke of His coming into the world. He pointed to the fact that His existence as the Son of man was preceded by another Divine and glorious existence: comp. on ch. John 1:9. "That those who see not might see: "this was witnessed in the man born blind. In the "Lord, I believe," the man who had been hitherto blind attained to spiritual sight; for he had been up to this time spiritually blind. He had grown up without cultivation, a simple and mere man. But that which was on the one hand a lack, was on the other an advantage. He knew nothing, but he did not boast himself of his knowledge; and did not, in his proud dependence upon knowing, close his heart against the wisdom from above. And as soon as the Saviour made Himself known as such, he worshipped Him.—"And those that see might be made blind." The seers were then the Jews, in relation to the Gentiles: comp. Romans 2:18-20. Israel had seen much, and his ears had been opened, Isaiah 42:20. When this seeing was connected with humility, it was an advantage and a help. But side by side with the advantage, there was also the danger. Among the Jews, again, the Pharisees were the seeing, whom Paul had in view pre-eminently in the passage above alluded to. They were the representatives of the Jewish culture and learning. But their always limited knowledge was attended by its companion, dimness and obscurity. They boasted themselves of their miserable knowledge; shut their "minds against the wisdom from above; and assumed the position of judges where it behoved them only to adore. Thus the manifestation of Christ could be to them only a dispensation of blinding. Not only did it make their blindness manifest, but it also increased that blindness; in their embittered opposition to it, they lost the elements of truth which still had survived in their knowledge. The darkness of antichristian Judaism was infinitely more profound than that of the pre-Christian. It everywhere exhibited the plainest traces of a consummate judgment and doom. The truth that the preaching of the word of God, where it meets with perfect unsusceptibility, is followed by a righteous Divine judgment of deeper blindness, and by ruin as its result, had been plainly declared in Isaiah 6:10, where the Lord says to the prophet, as the representative of all His servants in His kingdom down to Christ, "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed." The apparently universal sentence contains a limitation in its reference to the relations then presented before the Lord. Those who see not are of the kind of the blind man; those who are such, not merely objectively considered, but also in their spirit, τῷ πνεύματι, Matthew 5:3, and in their consciousness see not; those who bitterly feel their lack, and carry about with them a sense of longing for help from above. Those who see are of the Pharisees kind, who boast of their seeing, as generally is the case with them, and presume upon it. There are among those who see not, such as do not attain to seeing through Christ; and the not seeing has its own peculiar dangers and hindrances—such, for instance, as dull indifference. So there are among those who see, such as make, like Nicodemus, their seeing an advantage, to whom their intellectual knowledge forms a bridge to the spiritual. But this remains always and everywhere true, that the seeing is not itself an absolute good. Our saying points emphatically to the great dangers of culture and knowledge in all ages—dangers, however. which are specially great in times when knowledge has taken a direction estranged from God.

    According to the general interpretation, the seeing are such as are reputed, or repute themselves, to see, but do not see in reality. This interpretation is not only opposed by the plain expression, in which the Saviour speaks simply of those who see, but also by a series of parallel passages which are obviously written and to be read under the same aspect. To the seeing here correspond the wise and prudent in Matthew 11:25. They were manifestly those who, in opposition to the uncultivated multitude, were enlightened; those who had the key of knowledge, Luke 11:52. When the Lord, in Matthew 9:12, says, οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ἰσχύοντες ἰατροῦ ἀλλʼ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες, it is plain that the whole are not those who fancy themselves whole. They are those who keep themselves far removed from a manifest life of sin. The parable of the prodigal son places this matter clearly before our eyes. But behind the relative soundness there may lurk concealed a much worse disease. There is the danger of forgetting that the soundness is only relative; and of coming to despise the true means of help for the deeply hidden malady and peril. So even in Luke 5:32, where the Lord says, οὐκ ἐλήλυθα καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλοὺς εἰς μετάνοιαν, the righteous are not merely the imaginary righteous. The Pharisees were really righteous in relation to the publicans and harlots, and the Jews in relation to the Gentiles; but such righteous persons "who need no repentance," Luke 15:7, are, as is emphatically shown in Ecclesiastes 7:15-17, in many respects worse than open sinners, because they will not admit the regeneration, because they are always filled with pride and presumption, and everywhere inclined to act as judges and condemn others. Beneath the plus there is concealed, in all such quasi-righteousness, a most miserable minus. Such a righteousness, although not a mere imagination, may under certain circumstances prove a great and insurmountable obstacle to salvation.

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    Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 9:39". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-9.html.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    39.For judgment am I come into this world. The word judgment cannot be understood, in this passage, to denote simply the punishment which is inflicted on unbelievers, (276) and on those who despise God; for it is made to include the grace of illumination. Christ, therefore, calls it judgment, because he restores to proper order what was disordered and confused; but he means that this is done by a wonderful purpose of God, and contrary to the ordinary opinion of men. And, indeed, human reason considers nothing to be more unreasonable than to say, that they who see are made blind by the light of the world. This then is one of the secret judgments of God, by which he casts down the pride of men. It ought to be observed, that the blindness which is here mentioned, does not proceed so much from Christ as from the fault of men. For by its own nature, it does not strictly blind any man, but as there is nothing which the reprobate desire more earnestly than to extinguish its light, the eyes of their mind, which are diseased through malice and depravity, must be dazzled by the light which is exhibited to them. In short, since Christ is, by his own nature, the light of the world, (John 8:12,) it is an accidental result, that some are made blind by his coming.

    But again it may be asked, Since all are universally accused of blindness, who are they that see ? I reply, this is spoken ironically by way of concession, because unbelievers, though they are blind, think that their sight is uncommonly acute and powerful; and elated by this confidence, they do not deign to listen to God. Besides, out of Christ the wisdom of the flesh has a very fair appearance, because the world does not understand what it is to be truly wise. So then, they see, says our Lord Jesus Christ, (277) who, deceiving themselves and others under a foolish confidence in their wisdom, are guided by their own opinion, and reckon their vain imaginations to be great wisdom. (278) Such persons, as soon as Christ appears in the brightness of his Gospel, are made blind; not only because their folly, which was formerly concealed amidst the darkness of unbelief, is now discovered, but because, being plunged in deeper darkness by the righteous vengeance of God, they lose that small remnant of I know not what light which they formerly possessed.

    It is true that we are all born blind, but still, amidst the darkness of corrupted and depraved nature, some sparks continue to shine, so that men differ from brute beasts. Now, if any man, elated by proud confidence in his own opinion, refuses to submit to God, he will seem — apart from Christ — to be wise, but the brightness of Christ will strike him with dismay; for never does the vanity of the human mind begin to be discovered, until heavenly wisdom is brought into view. But Christ intended, as I have already suggested, to express something more by these words. For hypocrites do not so obstinately resist God before Christ shines; but as soon as the light is brought near them, then do they, in open war, and — as it were, with unfurled banner, (279) — rise up against God. It is in consequence of this depravity and ingratitude, therefore, that they become doubly blind, and that God, in righteous vengeance, entirely puts out their eyes, which were formerly destitute of the true light.

    We now perceive the amount of what is stated in this passage, that Christ came into the world to give sight to the blind, and to drive to madness those who think that they are wise. In the first part of it, he mentions illumination, that they who see not may see; because this is strictly the cause of his coming, for he did not come tojudge the world, but rather to save that which was lost, (Matthew 18:11.) In like manner Paul, when he declares that he has vengeance prepared against all rebels, at the same time adds, that this punishment will take place

    after that believers shall have fulfilled their obedience,
    (
    2 Corinthians 10:6.)

    And this vengeance ought not to be limited to the person of Christ, as if he did not perform the same thing daily by the ministers of his Gospel.

    We ought to be the more careful that none of us, through a foolish and extravagant opinion of his wisdom, draw down upon himself this dreadful punishment. But experience shows us the truth of this statement which Christ uttered; for we see many persons struck with giddiness and rage, for no other reason but because they cannot endure the rising of the Sun of righteousness. Adam lived, and was endued with the true light of understanding, while he lost that divine blessing by desiring to see more than was allowed him. Now if, while we are plunged in blindness and thus humbled by the Lord, we still flatter ourselves in our darkness, and oppose our mad views to heavenly wisdom, we need not wonder if the vengeance of God fall heavily upon us, so that we are rendered doubly blind This very punishment was formerly inflicted on the wicked and unbelievers (280) under the Law; for Isaiah is sent to blind the ancient people, that

    seeing they may not see: blind the heart of this people, and shut their ears,
    (
    Isaiah 6:9.)

    But in proportion as the brightness of the divine light is more fully displayed in Christ than in the Prophets, so much the more remarkably must this example of blindness have been manifested and perceived; as even now the noon-day light of the Gospel drives hypocrites to extreme rage.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 9:39". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-9.html. 1840-57.