Day 61

My Eyes Were Opened

Wisdom Proverbs 6:12–19
New Testament Mark 10:32–52
Old Testament Leviticus 5:14–7:10


It was as if I was blind. I must have heard many times that Jesus died for our sins. But I simply did not see it. I was spiritually blind. But when I understood the cross, my eyes were opened.

Since then, I have noticed that as I have attempted to pass on the message of ‘Christ crucified’, there are different responses. Sometimes very intelligent people simply cannot see it (see 1 Corinthians 1:23–25). On the other hand, I am often amazed at the understanding of others, including very young children. For all who see it, it is life changing: ‘to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I think it is fascinating that in today’s New Testament passage, after Jesus has explained his death, we have the story of blind Bartimaeus having his eyes opened (Mark 10:46–52). He says to Jesus, ‘I want to see’ (v.51). Jesus replies, ‘“Go… your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus’ (v.52). The word used for healed is the same Greek word as saved (sozo).

Do you see it? The passages for today help us to see the significance of Jesus’ death.


Proverbs 6:12–19

12 A troublemaker and a villain,
   who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
   13 who winks maliciously with his eye,
   signals with his feet
   and motions with his fingers,
   14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
   he always stirs up conflict.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
   he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
  seven that are detestable to him:
17  haughty eyes,
   a lying tongue,
   hands that shed innocent blood,
18  a heart that devises wicked schemes,
   feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19  a false witness who pours out lies
   and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


See God’s reaction to evil

You cannot fully understand the cross unless you understand why it was necessary.

See God’s hostile reaction to sin. The writer of Proverbs lists things that ‘the Lord hates’ and that are ‘detestable to him’ (v.16a) – arrogance, lies, murder, evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family’ (vv.16–19, MSG).

God is love. He is also just and holy. The kind of sin listed here causes enormous damage to our lives, the lives of others and to society. Take, for example, a person ‘who stirs up dissention’ (v.19). Think how much damage can be done by one person bringing division in a family or in the church, neighbourhood or nation.

God’s hatred is not like ours: it contains no element of spite, pettiness or hypocrisy – but it is the reaction of the altogether holy and loving God to sin. His anger is his loving and holy hostility to evil.

When we realise the extent of God’s hostility to sin that led to the cross, the only real response we can make is to turn to God in prayer to ask for forgiveness and help.


Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our aid and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord (prayer from the Anglican collect for Ash Wednesday).

New Testament

Mark 10:32–52

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

The Request of James and John

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.


See the results of the cross

If Jesus asked you, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, how would you reply? In this passage Jesus asks this question twice (vv.36,51). The disciples give the wrong answer (v.37). Bartimaeus gives the right answer: ‘I want to see’ (v.51).

Some people simply do not see it. Some have described the death of Jesus as ‘unexpected and tragic’. But, in fact, it was planned, prophesied and predicted.

This passage in Mark’s Gospel (vv.32–34) is the third and most detailed prediction Jesus gave about his death. It shows us that Jesus expected his own death and even his resurrection (vv.33–34). His death was not unexpected. It was a deliberate choice. It would end not in tragedy, but in triumph.

Further, he had a clear understanding of the purpose of his death and the results: ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (v.45).

The background to Jesus’ understanding of his own death includes Isaiah 53 – one of the ‘suffering servant’ passages. We see here clear evidence that Jesus saw his own death in terms of this ‘suffering servant’.

  1. Suffering

Why did Jesus come into this world? He understood that the whole purpose of his mission was to suffer. This is the reason he ‘came’ (Mark 10:45b). He came to give his life for you and me.

  1. Servant

Jesus uses the expression ‘to serve’ (v.45a). He saw himself as ‘the servant’. He came not to be served, but ‘to serve’. The expression ‘to give his life’ (v.45b) echoes the words of the servant in Isaiah 53:10 (‘makes his life an offering for sin’) and Isaiah 53:12 (‘he poured out his life unto death’).

  1. Saviour

The word ‘ransom’ (Mark 10:45b) is used of prisoners of war and slaves. It means the price paid for redemption (Numbers 18:15–16). It is paid to set the captives free. Jesus’ death on the cross saves you and me by setting us free.

  1. Substitute

The word translated ‘for’ in Mark 10:45 is the Greek word anti which means ‘in place of’, and it suggests the idea of substitution. It is this idea of suffering in our place that so strongly underlies Isaiah 53. By using these words Jesus showed that he believed that his death was not accidental or for his own sin, but suffering ‘in the place of’ others who would otherwise have had to suffer.

Further, Jesus understood his own death in the light of the metaphor of the cup (Mark 10:38). The Old Testament speaks of the cup of God’s ‘wrath’ against sin. Jesus speaks of ‘the cup I drink’ (v.38). He saw himself as drinking the cup of God’s hostile reaction to sin on our behalf.

By his death and resurrection Jesus defeated sin, evil and death. As a result, you can be forgiven, set free from guilt, shame and addictions. You can be sure of the ultimate triumph of good over evil. You need not fear the future. Death itself has been defeated.

When Jesus asked his disciples, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’, they gave the wrong answer. They wanted position (v.37). It’s always a temptation for Christian leaders to compete with one another for the most prominent position.

We are called to follow Jesus, serving him and each other. Spiritual ambition is not wrong, but it is possible to have the wrong sort of spiritual ambition. This could be as subtle as seeking our own glory rather than being ambitious for Jesus. Jesus says, ‘Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant’ (v.43).

Of course, for most of us, most of the time, our motives are mixed. Where we, like the disciples, are tempted to seek our own position, prospects, promotion, pay and popularity, Jesus says four words to us: ‘Not so with you’ (v.43). You are called to serve because it is the pattern of Jesus to serve.

The clothes of authentic discipleship are not the purple robes of an emperor, but the crown of thorns of our Saviour. It is about a cross, not a throne. It is a life laid down for others.

Let’s follow the example of Bartimaeus who cried out to Jesus for mercy (v.47). Jesus always responds when you cry for mercy. Bartimaeus asked for his sight. His eyes were opened and he saw Jesus.

Ask God today to open your eyes to see Jesus and understand all that he has done for you through his death on the cross for you.


Lord, open my eyes to see you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly (adapted from the Prayer of St Richard of Chichester).

Old Testament

Leviticus 5:14–7:10

The Guilt Offering

14 The LORD said to Moses: 15 “When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. 16 They must make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest. The priest will make atonement for them with the ram as a guilt offering, and they will be forgiven.

17 “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. 18 They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. 19 It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the LORD.”

6 The LORD said to Moses: 2 “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbour about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbour, 3 or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4 when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5 or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6 And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7 In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

The Burnt Offering

8 The LORD said to Moses: 9 “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering : The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. 10 The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. 11 Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. 12 The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13 The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

The Grain Offering

14 “‘These are the regulations for the grain offering: Aaron’s sons are to bring it before the LORD, in front of the altar. 15 The priest is to take a handful of the finest flour and some olive oil, together with all the incense on the grain offering, and burn the memorial portion on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 16 Aaron and his sons shall eat the rest of it, but it is to be eaten without yeast in the sanctuary area; they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. 17 It must not be baked with yeast; I have given it as their share of the food offerings presented to me. Like the sin offering and the guilt offering, it is most holy. 18 Any male descendant of Aaron may eat it. For all generations to come it is his perpetual share of the food offerings presented to the LORD. Whatever touches them will become holy. ’”

19 The LORD also said to Moses, 20 “This is the offering Aaron and his sons are to bring to the LORD on the day he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of the finest flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening. 21 It must be prepared with oil on a griddle; bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 22 The son who is to succeed him as anointed priest shall prepare it. It is the LORD’s perpetual share and is to be burned completely. 23 Every grain offering of a priest shall be burned completely; it must not be eaten.”

The Sin Offering

24 The LORD said to Moses, 25 “Say to Aaron and his sons: ‘These are the regulations for the sin offering: The sin offering is to be slaughtered before the LORD in the place the burnt offering is slaughtered; it is most holy. 26 The priest who offers it shall eat it; it is to be eaten in the sanctuary area, in the courtyard of the tent of meeting. 27 Whatever touches any of the flesh will become holy, and if any of the blood is spattered on a garment, you must wash it in the sanctuary area. 28 The clay pot the meat is cooked in must be broken; but if it is cooked in a bronze pot, the pot is to be scoured and rinsed with water. 29 Any male in a priest’s family may eat it; it is most holy. 30 But any sin offering whose blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be burned up.

The Guilt Offering

7 “‘These are the regulations for the guilt offering, which is most holy: 2 The guilt offering is to be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and its blood is to be splashed against the sides of the altar. 3 All its fat shall be offered: the fat tail and the fat that covers the internal organs, 4 both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which is to be removed with the kidneys. 5 The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the LORD. It is a guilt offering. 6 Any male in a priest’s family may eat it, but it must be eaten in the sanctuary area; it is most holy.

7 “‘The same law applies to both the sin offering and the guilt offering: They belong to the priest who makes atonement with them. 8 The priest who offers a burnt offering for anyone may keep its hide for himself. 9 Every grain offering baked in an oven or cooked in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who offers it, 10 and every grain offering, whether mixed with olive oil or dry, belongs equally to all the sons of Aaron.


See the reason for his death

Here again we see the background to Jesus’ understanding of his own death. The ‘guilt offering’ provided a ‘penalty’ (5:15) for sin. It leads to forgiveness (v.16) and involves blood being shed (7:2). This foreshadows what Jesus was going to do on the cross for you and me.

As I began to understand the Old Testament background and the seriousness of my own sin, I began to understand more and more the enormity of the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. When Jesus bore with his own body God’s hostile reaction to my sin, he made it possible for me to be forgiven and to experience life in all its fullness.

My experience was similar to that of blind Bartimaeus. My blindness had not been physical but spiritual. Like him I cried out, ‘Jesus… have mercy on me’ (Mark 10:47–48). I received my sight and followed Jesus. It was not something I earned. It was a gift I received by faith, just as Jesus said to Bartimaeus, ‘Go… your faith has healed [or, in other words, ‘saved’] you’ (v.52).


Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to understand the enormity of your sacrifice on my behalf. Thank you that I can never earn forgiveness but can only receive it as a gift by faith. Help me, like Bartimaeus, to follow you and to give my life in service to you and other people.

Pippa adds

In Leviticus 6:4, it says:

‘They must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found.’

I must confess at times we've ended up with lots of forgotten umbrellas in our house and I find them extremely useful!



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Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

Prayer of St Richard of Chichester (1197-1253),, © SPCK - Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 2015 [last accessed, February 2015]

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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