35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”1 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (John 9:35-41)
“If you were blind, you would have not guilt; but now that you say, “we see.” Your guilt remains.” Biting words. Lines are drawn with Jesus. He makes the blind to see, and the seeing blind. This isn’t a physical thing, this is a spiritual reality. Those who despair of themselves, who can see no hope within themselves and their works, the light shines on them and they see hope in Jesus Christ. But those who hope within themselves who think that they make themselves worthy of God with their works they are blinded by the light of Jesus Christ, their guilt remains.
Those who see hope in Jesus Christ will be persecuted. The early church saw this whole narrative as explaining baptism. The man washed and then he was cast out, then he was persecuted as Christ is persecuted. It is no longer you the world sees, but Christ, because in baptism you have clothed yourself with Christ. Now you are a light that blinds with rage, because Christ is your righteousness.