From Liz Groman
On Seeing ClearlyJohn 9:39 MSG. Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”
Jesus clashed violently with His culture. Jesus confronted the darkness which was represented as light - the "necessary compromises" to keep the peace, the ugliness of greed beneath the surface of rituals, the selfish/sinful pride/practices hidden in the shadows. The Jewish religious leaders maintained a level of profit, power and control over the people by preaching "peace at any cost" to placate and minimize the intervention of the Roman conquerors who wanted nice, peaceful, obedient subjects across their far-flung empire. Jesus' preaching/teaching both drew large crowds and exposed the ugliness hidden behind the pretense of the religious practices (impersonal, judgmental, weighted down with ritual, attempting to earn holiness through impossible works). While the large crowds worried the Romans (concerned about sedition), the largest concern for the religious leaders had to be another sort of sedition - losing influence over the people who came out of the darkness of religion to embrace relationship with Promised Messiah, who were blind but now could clearly see and know their God, His character, His heart. This result was brought about by the violent clash of Jesus with His culture brought about by preaching true holiness, true worship, true love, true religion.
As I watch the violence on the news, I am reminded that Jesus did not come to bring peace at any cost; He came to bring truth and grace at any cost. The events of the past few weeks have exposed the ugliness beneath the surface, the places where we were comfortably blind to what existed in the darkness of our country. This exposure has stirred up the famous "Silent Majority" to voice their outrage and work for change for the better. Yes, there are always violent, vocal radicals on both sides of the issues who confuse and divide by anger/hate/physical violence, but we are also called to be radicals, ones who dare, like Jesus, to overcome, unite and redeem in and through the love/grace/mercy of God to bring true peace. Jesus was one man who seeded the truth into 12 and then 70 and then thousands who embraced His light shining into their darkness. From this small beginning, He reached out over the ages to find and redeem me, to draw me out of my personal darkness into His marvelous light - because He gave His life for His radical beliefs - no necessary compromises to preserve the temporary peace, willing to sacrifice Himself to fulfill the Father's price for us, dying to redeem the man who drove the nails in His hands/held the whip/yelled crucify. Am I willing to do the same? Am I blind or do I really see clearly? I have to ask the questions because, if I say I want to be like Jesus, don't I also have to be willing to submit myself to the Father's will and purpose for me regardless of the cost? Do I really trust Him enough to go the distance, to step out into the unknown trusting that the light of Christ will dispel the darkness, to have the courage to clash with my culture regardless of what I might lose?
Lord, I stand before You and ask for any blindness in me to be healed, to walk in Your light, seeing clearly Your will and purpose for me. I do want to be like Christ, but my heart worries over what the cost might be. Work in me to grow my trust in You. Help me to give You the keys to the places within me where I restrict Your access - places of shame, fear, selfishness, sin. Let me see and know You more clearly every moment of every day. I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant," when I stand before You on that day. Make it so in the name of Jesus.