Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. John 9:41
It’s a humbling thing to look back into your past, see the ways you sinned, but then say…”I didn’t know better. Oh God, forgive me.” Though there was sin, there was not the guilt of knowing the truth and intentionally turning the other way. Intentionality incurs a more severe responsibility.
The real sin of the Pharisees was not that they rejected the spiritual truths Jesus preached. They rejected Jesus Himself. To claim to know truth but reject Jesus is the ultimate crime. They stood in front of God in the flesh and dared to harbor murderous thoughts – and all the while – claiming to know the scriptures. Could spiritual blindness be characterized any more powerfully than this!
While I don’t have the person of Jesus standing in front of me today declaring truth in way where I can see Him speak, I do have the benefit of the written Word. Reading the words of Jesus makes me as responsible for handling the Truth as those who lived their lives in proximity to Him. They heard Him firsthand; I read Him firsthand. They openly disagreed with His teaching; second-guessing everything. Do I do the same as I read? Do I sift His commands according to what is understandable, what is convenient, what seems urgent? If so, my guilt is real for in rejecting Jesus’ words, I reject Jesus.
Perhaps I am tempted to sift what I read because I’m reading the Word as if reading a book. The common approach to the reading of literature is to decide, page upon page, what seems helpful for the moment and then to discard everything else. If I’m not careful, I approach scripture the same way. Study and meditation of the Word of God is not like any other activity I will engage in. The Spirit of God lives inside of me. When I read, I need to remember that He is at large, standing tall, influential in stature, speaking the words I’m reading into my life. If I remember that I am Mary, sitting at the feet of the Rabbi, then I am in the vicinity of the right approach. Though I may be reading truth, I am hearing it spoken in my spirit, in the context of my intimate relationship with Jesus. If He said it, it is always for me, and it always preempts any other supposed truth. His Word stands in judgment of me. I don’t stand in judgment of it.
Humbly, I bow low to honor every thing that comes out of your mouth. I honor it with my attention, my love for your words, and my obedience. Amen