Third Saturday of Advent
Reading: Grab your bible and read John 7:40-52
Reflection: As the old saying goes, “thereʼs none so blind as those who will not see.” The religious leaders in this passage are a clear example of the truth of this statement. They had become so convinced that the knew the only correct way to interpret the Scriptures, and that they knew exactly how God operated that they were completely blind to what God was doing through Jesus. In spite of the power of his teaching, and the amazing things he was doing, their closed hearts and minds made it impossible for them to recognize Godʼs coming. They were so sure that the Bible said that the Messiah could not come from Galilee that they looked no further. They didn't check out Jesusʼ story, nor did they question their own assumptions, and as a result they missed the boat completely.
Itʼs an easy trap to fall into - and we all do at some point in our lives. Whenever we are tempted to follow the example of another well-known cliché - “Iʼve made up my mind; donʼt confuse me with the facts” - we run the risk of missing Godʼs surprising presence. God will not be domesticated to our agendas, and God will not fit into our assumptions or interpretations. The Scriptures are given to point us to Jesus, but when they blind us to Godʼs activity or Godʼs coming, they have become an idol. We do well to follow the example of Nicodemus who, unlike the other religious leaders, was willing to investigate, to meet with Jesus and to
open his heart and mind to the possibility that he had something new to learn.
In what ways might you be allowing your certainty and assumptions to blind you to Godʼs surprising presence and activity in your life? In what ways might you be allowing the Bible, or your interpretations of it, or the influence of some leader, to close your heart and mind to Godʼs unexpected coming? How can you let go of your assumptions and open yourself to the new thing that God is doing in your world?
Although I sometimes forget it, God, you cannot be controlled by my agendas or expectations. Although I may be disturbed or surprised by it, God, you donʼt avoid doing unexpected things, or coming in unexpected ways, or working in and through unexpected people, for my sake. Rather, you call me to let go of what I think I know, and to be open to your new work, your new coming.
Please teach me this Advent to learn to recognise you even when you come to me in ways that I would never have imagined. Amen.