The Daily Office | March 16, 2018
Psalms 79, 80, 81
Exodus (39) 40:17-end
Psalms 82, 83, 84, 85
1 Timothy 5
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Why did Jesus come into the world? Surely we could come up with many answers. But both times that Jesus explicitly says why he “came into the world,” the answer is about giving sight. In John 12 Jesus says he came to give light to those walking in darkness. In John 9:39 he says he came “so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind.”
It is easy to get on board with Jesus giving sight to the blind, both literally and figuratively. But why does he make other people blind? The story in John 9 helps us interpret this strange phrase. When Jesus heals the man born blind on the Sabbath, the Pharisees are divided and confused. Some refuse to believe Jesus was from God since he broke their Sabbath rules, while others refuse to dismiss such an amazing act as sinful (9:16).
Jesus did not come with the goal of “blinding” people with confusion. But anyone who thinks they have God figured out and spends much time around Jesus will inevitably be confused. He challenges preconceptions about God on nearly every page of the four gospels. If we truly want to learn from Jesus, we must come to him and his teachings with an open heart to how he might challenge our presuppositions. If we come to Jesus’s teachings with too many assumptions, we are likely to follow in the way of so many Pharisees, seeing and hearing ourselves more than Jesus.