Daily Devotion for March 13, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This old hymn is sung in the wonderful traditional a capella style of the Antrim Mennonite Choir.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me that he lived and walked among us, one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. Your love in showing us that you would share the burdens of mortality is great.
Although the terrible beating and torture, and long painful death, that he suffered at the hands of the powerful was a terrible thing, his ultimate victory in overcoming that death was the greatest victory in the history of mankind. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.
John 9:35-41 (NKJV)
Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind 
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
Notes on the Scripture
The "him" who has been cast out is the man who was blind from birth, but whom Jesus has healed. A group of Pharisees, who rule both the religious and much of the secular life, have gone to great lengths to interrogate the man, his parents and others, in order to gather evidence against Jesus, but they have been unsuccessful. The man whose sight was restored, in fact, has become quite surly and disrespectful; he can recognize the obvious, that Christ has given him his sight back. So the Pharisees, rather than accepting the man's true answer to their questions, have thrown him out of the community.
Because the healed man has remained true, Christ tells him the whole truth; that he is the Son of God. And the man accepts him and believes in him. Then Christ tells the point of the entire episode; his literal healing is a metaphor for his spiritual salvation. He has come to give light to the blind, i.e. those who cannot see God's light. But he also says he has come "that those who see may be made blind", which is harder to understand.
Jesus did enjoy a bit of wordplay, and the paradox he gives here -- he comes that the blind may see and that those who see may be blind -- is a good example.
Of course, he comes that all may see — he does not intend to blind anyone, that is, to turn them away from God or render them unable to see God. The Pharisees, however, believe that they have a special insight into God's word, that they are the caretakers of God's will and its interpretation to the Jews. They think that they, and only they, "see" God. Jesus thus has come to show them that they are blind, because only when a person realizes that he cannot see God, can Christ give him sight.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". (Matthew 5:3,8) The meaning of "blind" in John 9 is nearly identical to the meaning of "poor in spirit". Only when we realize that we do not see God, and begin to look for Him, are we ready to receive Christ's message. Then we can be filled with the true Spirit; we will see the light; we will be able to know God through the word of Christ.