Believing and Seeing in John

The connection between believing and seeing is significant in John’s Gospel. There is John the Baptiser’s seeing of the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus (John 1:29-34). There is the disciple’s seeing of Jesus’ glory when he turns water to wine at the wedding in Cana, and the believing that follows this (John 2:11). There are the people in Jerusalem who see the “miraculous signs” (John 2:23) and believe in Jesus, and there is Nicodemus who comes to Jesus under cover of night because he, like the crowd, has been touched by the miracles he has seen and wants to know more – and yet he is unable to understand (to see) when Jesus calls him to be “born again” (John 3:1-8). There is the blind man who is given sight by Jesus, and who then learns to see who Jesus really is, while the religious leaders, who claim to see, remain blind (John 9). There are the sisters of Lazarus who are told by Jesus that they will see God’s glory if they believe (John 11:40), and whose brother is raised. There are the moments – many of them – in which Jesus laments that people won’t believe unless they see miracles, and in which John connects seeing and believing (John 1:50; 2:18; 4:48; 12:37; 15:24).

For John there is seeing – without understanding or believing – and there is seeing – discovering a truth that goes deeper than the eyes or the mind, into the soul, and leads to a believing that is more than signs or miracles, but a connection with the person of Jesus.

- John van de Laar, "Seeing and Believing," Sacredise blog, April 26, 2011