It might seem unusual to discuss judgement in the midst of our Advent celebrations. But it lies at the heart of the meaning of the incarnation. The so-called ‘paradox of revelation’ observes that in order to bring grace, it must also give offence. In order to be grace, it must uncover sin. The gospel brings salvation to those who have faith in Jesus. But equally, it brings condemnation on the godless.
The compelling story in John 9, of Jesus healing a man born blind, who at first does not know Jesus, so refers to him as “the man”. Later, questioned by Pharisees, he says that Jesus is “a prophet”. Then when Jesus seeks him out again, the man declares “Lord, I believe” and he worships Jesus.
However, the Pharisees claim they are true disciples of Moses, and that they do not know where Jesus comes from, and as a sabbath breaker, he was a sinner. Jesus says that by claiming they can ‘see’ they bring judgement upon themselves.
As we celebrate communion, we give thanks to God, that though we are subject to final judgement, like anybody else, as we come in the name of Jesus ‘mercy triumphs over judgement’. (James 2:3)
Reading: John 9:35-41
Questions to think about:
- Jesus claimed that because the Pharisees asserted that they could ‘see’, they brought judgement on themselves. What are the implications of this for us?
- What do you think of Jesus’ claim that the man a man was born blind so that the work of God might be displayed in his life? (see John 9:3)
- As we journey through Advent, what are the signs of light shining in the darkness that you can see in the world today?