If a blind man ever bids you to follow him, do so carefully and with your eyes wide open. Jesus warned His hearers about the religious leaders of His day.
Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into the ditch. (Matthew 13:47-50)
Jesus had just finished showing the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders. They claimed to teach God’s law, but nullified it by their traditions (Matthew 15:1-9).
They were the plants Jesus spoke of, ready to be uprooted because the Father had not planted them. Jesus revealed in John 8:44 who they were from—they were the sons of the devil. The same is true of any who will set aside the word of God, preferring their own laws and traditions instead.
Not only were they rotten trees, ready to be cut down and burned (Matthew 7:17-20), but the Lord also called them blind guides of blind people. They were unfit to lead others in the way of the Lord, for they did not know the way themselves. Jesus identified them as blind, and in the context of each occasion, related it to their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26; Luke 6:39). They were willingly blind when it came to the things of God.
Of their evangelistic efforts, Jesus said:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15)
If the teacher does not know the truth, neither will the student. The prophets had spoken about them in this way:
…the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed. (Isaiah 9:16)
…you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi… (Malachi 2:8)
In John 9, Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1, 6-7). When the Pharisees knew that Jesus had healed him, they began to deal with him, they began to deal with him harshly (John 9:34-35). Jesus spoke with the man after he had been put out of the temple, saying that He was in the world,
…that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind. (John 9:39)
The blind man in John 9 was of the first kind. At first, he did not know the Saviour—he was not only physically blind, but also spiritually. The events of that day opened his eyes both physically and spiritually. What did He see? At first, “a man called Jesus” (John 9:11) then a prophet from God (John 9:17, 33), and finally, the Son of God (John 9:35-38).
But Jesus didn’t just say He came to give sight to those who did not see, but also “…that those who see may be made blind.” He doesn’t mean that folks who were spiritually minded already (ie. Nathaniel, John 1:45-49) would become spiritual reprobates. This was aimed at the Pharisees and those who were like them, those who were spiritual giants in their own minds (John 9:34; Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisees who heard Jesus speak asked, “Are we blind also?” (John 9:40). The Lord answered,
If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains. (John 9:41)
Notice what these spiritual elites said about Jesus:
This Man is not from God … this Man is a sinner … we do not know where He is from… (John 9:16, 24, 29)
The Messiah was with them and they did not know it. Rather than exalt Him as the Son of God and point people to Him (ie. John the Baptist), they accused Him of being a sinner and cast anyone who confessed Him as the Christ out of the temple. Those who listened to them were being led by blind leaders, and both fell into the ditch.
The world is filled with blind leaders and followers today. If you are privileged to teach, do not go beyond nor fall short of what God’s word reveals. If you are a hearer, don’t accept all that you hear. Check what is said with what God said. If it is the same, great; if not, then it is not the truth! Do not be a blind leader or a blind follower. Both will fall into the ditch.