Reflections: Monday the Fourth Week of Lent

March 20,  2023

Today’s Reading:  John 9:1-41

Daily Lectionary: Gen 42:1-34, 38, Mark 12:1-12

John 9:2: “And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?””

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The disciples find a man born blind. They ask a reasonable question.   Whose fault is it?  There has to be someone to blame. Sometimes you can find fault.  The Ten Commandments paint a picture of how things are supposed to be. All of us fall short of this standard.  Sin breaks stuff. Sometimes that’s my fault. Sometimes it’s yours. Sometimes the sin that breaks stuff is just so ground into the dust that there’s no way to figure out who to blame, short of Adam. He brought sin into the world. He passed it through DNA to the blind man and his parents, to you and me. If you want to assign blame for misery, there’s no shortage of it. But there’s no help there either.  

So when the disciples ask Jesus who to blame, He doesn’t answer the way they want. He answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus wants more for us than wandering around in darkness finding blame to sling on each other like mud.  There’s no help in that pit. There’s no comfort. There’s nothing but darkness, dust, and death. There’s wisdom here. The law shows us our sin. Sometimes we can learn from that and aim for better, but when we can’t find a commandment being broken, stop. If you can’t find a place to learn, leave. Don’t play in that pit. You only get covered in the same darkness.  

He points to Himself. He doesn’t explain this man’s blindness in a way that makes us feel better about it.  There is no feeling better about it. Even knowing who to blame doesn’t fix anything.  He points to Himself, and in doing so He addresses the real problem the disciples have. They called him Rabbi. Teacher. That’s what folks call Jesus in the Bible when they want to make clear they don’t think He’s the God He claims to be.  

Where is God visible in all this?  They wanted a teacher to explain away what’s wrong and learned nothing. Rather, Jesus heals the man and shows where God really makes Himself known. In the darkness, working mercy. It’s ugly, but God reveals Himself in the darkness, in the spit and the mud. In the suffering and death. On the cross.  For the sinners and the ones marked by it. For you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord God, let us ever find you working in darkness to bring us light, mercy, and healing, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.