“Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains’”. (John 9:41)
In this chapter, Jesus healed a blind man. This was an incredible miracle that was hard for the people in the community to comprehend since he was blind from birth. Jesus used the Pharisees’ reaction toward this miracle to reveal what he thought about the religious leader’s perspective on “sin”. Over hundreds of years, the laws given to the Israelites had been expanded to become part of Jewish tradition. The commandment, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,” had become, “You can’t do any work at all – even healing – on the Sabbath, or you are sinning”. Jesus intentionally healed the man in a way that the Pharisees would consider it a “sin”. Jesus would have known the current interpretation of the law, and he was blatantly challenging it and the religious leaders.
In all of the Gospels, I am constantly struck that Jesus’ strongest words and anger were saved for those who considered themselves extremely knowledgeable and faithful, but were hurting people or turning them away from God. They thought they understood what God meant in the laws he gave them, but Jesus showed them they were missing the point. He wanted them to know that the commandments were given as gifts to help us love Him and love each other. They were not meant to punish or divide people. Jesus is talking to me as he challenges the Pharisees. Where am I misinterpreting the Bible and using it to judge or condemn those around me? Where do I think I “see” the law of God but am really “blind” to what he wants from me? Am I acting as Judge, Jury and Executioner….forgetting that I am actually the one that is on trial?
“LORD, I humble myself before you now. I thank you for your love and grace that is bigger than I can ever imagine. Help me to focus this year on what you consider the greatest commandments – loving you and loving the people around me. I want to be part of bringing our world and this community together for You. Please give me the discernment, strength, desire and power to do what you ask of me. I want to stand before You and know that I have loved and cared for all, including the difficult, marginalized, lonely and hurt, and have shown them the grace and mercy that can only come from You. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.