Healing of the Man Born Blind, El Greco, c.1573
One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see. John 9:25
In the account of Jesus healing the man born blind (see John 9), the blind man encounters Jesus and his life is forever changed. The Gospels are full of stories of people who encountered Jesus and had their lives turned upside down. Examples are Jesus Calling the First Disciples (Mt 18-22), The Call of Matthew (Mt 9:9), The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46-52), Jesus and Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10), Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-30), and The Conversion of Saul (Acts 9:1-22).
This Advent, we invite you on a journey toward Bethlehem where you will find the Christ child waiting for you to embrace Him. Along the way, you will discover the importance of encountering Jesus personally. You’ll also discover why it is important to make Jesus the center of your marriage and the center of your family. Finally, you’ll discover the mission He has called you to carry out in your neighborhood and the world.
We begin this reflection with the question: Why did Jesus come?
Why did the Son of God become a man, be born of a virgin, suffer under Pontius Pilate, be crucified, die, and be buried? Why did He rise from the dead on the third day and then ascend into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty?
Jesus came to reclaim God’s creation from the dominion of sin and death. He came to free you from the snares of the evil one who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour” (1 Pt 3:8). Jesus came just for you. He loves you beyond all comprehension and He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He came to free you from shame and despair. He wants you to repent of your sins and spend all eternity with Him in heaven. He wants to pour His abundant peace, joy, and hope into your heart so that you may know that you are His beloved child. He came for you.
Why choose to follow Christ? Jesus Himself gives the answer in the Gospel of John…
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
St. Paul is his letter to the Ephesians states…
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ…that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God… Ephesians 2:4, 7-8
For by grace, we have been saved…it is a gift from God. The gift must be accepted! Are you sold out to Jesus? Is He Lord of your life? Are there areas of your life that you have not given over to Jesus? Grace comes from giving everything over to Jesus…all your fears, worries, and desires. It is in walking humbly in obedience to Christ that blessings flow into our lives. If you are struggling to give an area of your life totally to Jesus, ask God to give you the grace. He never fails to give to those who ask in faith.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
Consider the three parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 13:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” Matthew 13:44-50
Each one of us must decide. Do we accept the “pearl of great value,” that is God’s gracious gift of salvation or do we condemn ourselves to the fires of hell? There are only two options available. One leads to eternal bliss in heaven with the God the Father, the other is eternal anguish in the bowels of the netherworld. Which will it be? Which do you choose?
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live! Deuteronomy 30:19
Next week, we will explore why it is important to make Jesus the center of your marriage.