Saturday, December 8, 2012

What do you want from Christ?

What do you want from Christ?

I think this passage will offer a wonderful meditation for us though our Advent journey.

Luke 18:35-43 The Healing of the Blind Man
"At that time, as Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God."

To provide some background, Jericho was the city which the jews had conquered with God’s help in the Book of Joshua as they paced around the walls blowing trumpets, and instead of using siege equipment they had relied on God’s mercy and faithfulness to bring down the walls. Jesus’ action of going to Jericho serves to connect us with the Old Testament, and point us to it’s fulfillment in Himself, the Son of Man. Just as God was present with the Jews in the Shekinah Glory of the Temple, so he comes to Jericho (Jericho being this world) again, but as the Word made Flesh (God’s promise amongst men, and with men as a man). On his journey there (which can be viewed as God coming down to humanity in the Incarnation) Jesus encounters a blind beggar on the way. The blind man, represents humanity, blinded to our knowledge of what is truly good and truly sinful by the fall of our ancestors. He recognizes Christ as the Messiah and calls out to Him. Jesus stops and has the man brought to Him and asks him directly “What do you want me to do for you?” He asks to see with his eyes, and Christ obliges. “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.”

This was a bold action by the beggar. If the blind man truly desires to see, asking to see, and being granted this will put an end to all that he knows and he may be forced to change his life completely (think of Saul becoming Paul as another example of this). Isn’t this our challenge when we are faced with the gospel? If we truly begin to listen to the words of Christ, and begin to live according to his statutes, we are shedding the cataracts upon our eyes. We may be forced into discomfort, but Christ never promised an easy life if we followed Him. Our generation loves comfort, and loves to ignore the gospel. It likes the idea of the Gospel, with feel a feel-good Jesus, but it does not like anything that sounds like self-sacrifice or suffering. Thankfully we have the fasts, to discipline our bodies and minds where they have grown lazy and fat. Charity, to force us back into reliance on God and not worldly things, and that we are called to humble ourselves before everyone. So what do we all want from Christ? Are we prepared to do what we need to do, once we are given it? Are we willing to make major changes in our lives to put aside our old life and enter into a new one? Remember your baptism! Embrace it! In our Baptisms we threw aside our blindness and spit upon the lies of the Devil! Cast off your boredom, your sleep and arise, the Bridegroom will come and we will not know his Hour! Fear afflicts all of us and draws us away from doing the right thing, but don’t despair, fight, and remember the words of Christ to the Beggar! “Receive what you have asked for, for your faith has saved you.” Trust, Hope, and Pray, and you will find a new faith awakened in you. Ponder this as we make our way toward the Feast of the Nativity over the next few weeks and God Keep you All!

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