QUINQUAGESIMA – FEBRUARY 15, 2015
TEXT: LUKE 18:31-43; 1 COR. 13:1-13; 1 SAM. 16:1-13
IN CHRIST THE PERFECT IS COMING
AND THE PARTIAL IS PASSING AWAY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the Church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


When the perfect comes the partial will pass away!  Already at Jericho the perfect is on the way!  This blind beggar’s hand was generally stretched out to receive pennies from human hands.  On this day He cries out in faith and receives the very gift of God’s love in the flesh!  The greatest of these is love.  Love is the greatest because of its duration!  God’s love – given and received abides forever!  When the perfect comes the partial will pass away!


Dear Christians do not hear Jesus’ words foretelling His passion as if you know them too well!  Reason does not believe that this is necessary for us!  Only faith believes it and that with struggle.  Dr. Luther taught that the right basis to receive comfort and joy from Christ’s suffering was to know and understand not only the suffering but also Jesus’ heart and will for that suffering.  Of this Gospel Luther added - it is as if Jesus says, “Look into my heart, and see that I do this, willingly, freely…” (LW 76, p.351)  Taking the twelve, (Jesus) said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.  For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.  And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”  Beloved of God, you do not know this too well!

QUINQUAGESIMA – FEBRUARY 15, 2015
TEXT: LUKE 18:31-43; 1 COR. 13:1-13; 1 SAM. 16:1-13
IN CHRIST THE PERFECT IS COMING
AND THE PARTIAL IS PASSING AWAY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the Church of God at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


When the perfect comes the partial will pass away!  Already at Jericho the perfect is on the way!  This blind beggar’s hand was generally stretched out to receive pennies from human hands.  On this day He cries out in faith and receives the very gift of God’s love in the flesh!  The greatest of these is love.  Love is the greatest because of its duration!  God’s love – given and received abides forever!  When the perfect comes the partial will pass away!


Dear Christians do not hear Jesus’ words foretelling His passion as if you know them too well!  Reason does not believe that this is necessary for us!  Only faith believes it and that with struggle.  Dr. Luther taught that the right basis to receive comfort and joy from Christ’s suffering was to know and understand not only the suffering but also Jesus’ heart and will for that suffering.  Of this Gospel Luther added - it is as if Jesus says, “Look into my heart, and see that I do this, willingly, freely…” (LW 76, p.351)  Taking the twelve, (Jesus) said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.  For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.  And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”  Beloved of God, you do not know this too well


As Luke records Jesus doing after His resurrection (Lk. 24) - so now also before His crucifixion - Jesus acts to remove false views of His kingdom!  He reveals that all Scripture testifies to the divine necessity of His passion.  From Adam on the Gospel fulfilled in the crucified and risen Christ has been prophesied.


This was Jesus’ final passion prediction made on His final journey up to Jerusalem.  He is fully aware of the horror that awaits Him there.  But also that He will break the bonds of death and hurry back to life.  Of all this – despite Jesus’ clear and repeated telling – the disciples are unaware!  They mistakenly anticipate a happy Passover festival!  They assume earthly honor and esteem awaits their Lord and them.  They understood none of these things.  This saying was hidden from them and they did not grasp what was said.  Nor do we grasp the beating heart of God’s love too well!


As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging.  And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.  They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”   The crowd was passing by in the light of day while this man sat in blind darkness.   But when he heard from them the title “Jesus of Nazareth” this blind beggar became agitated and excited.  That title carried connection to the “branch” from the root of Jesse (Is 11:1) – to the Son of David - the Messiah. 


Suddenly energized he began crying out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Our Lord desires real, genuine, beggars to look to Him for every good thing!  It is His desire and honor to be generous to the poor.  Indeed, blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3) This beggar’s prayer is one of faith.  Through his ears, the blind man sees in faith that Jesus is the royal, Messianic Man promised in the Old Testament.  “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”


And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  His clamoring for alms seemed out of place in this festive throng.  They were seeing and on the move – going somewhere.  He was just sitting and begging in the darkness – going nowhere.  In no uncertain terms they told him to shut up.  The great ignorance and misdirection of the disciples is evident also in the crowd.  The spiritually blind speak up to hinder this physically blind beggar – who already sees in faith who Jesus is.  They rebuked him, but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”   


And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him.  And when he came near, her asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”  And Jesus said to him, “recover your sight; your faith has made you well.”  Literally, your faith has saved you.”  What a wonderful healing expression!  “Receive your sight.”  No human pennies for this beggar – but a gift transcending human bounds.  With great authority Jesus gives the light of physical sight to him who already knew in faith the light of the world. 


Fellow redeemed, this blind man’s condition bears witness to a greater blindness which affects all of humanity.  Unless God gives sight, we are blind to the outer darkness we deserve, the hellish sinkhole – the eternal fire that awaits the unrepentant.  Oh, we recognize that we’re not perfect, but certainly well-intentioned men and women don’t suffer from complete spiritual blindness.  The human race may not measure up in every way, but common perception is that well-meaning folk do not deserve what you previously confessed about temporal and eternal punishment.


The nature of our disease and its wages we would never see except through the revelation of Scripture.  The damage cannot be fully described nor can it be understood by reason, but only from God’s Word.  It is clear that most sins we neither remember nor understand according to the Psalm – Who can discern his errors? (Psalm 19:12 – Apology XI – Confession).  Unless God gives sight we are blind to our fallen and rebellious condition before Him. 


Unless God gives sight, we are also blind to the heavenly treasure – the eternal glory for those in Christ.  Opened eyes in Luke testify to a right understanding of Jesus.  This is Jesus’ last recorded miracle before entering the Holy City and the blind man He healed rightly pictures you.  Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him…and said to him recover your sight; your faith has saved you.”   And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God.   From going nowhere this beggar was soon going with Him who is God’s love in the flesh. 


Love does not insist on its own way…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  That’s what the prophets wrote about the Son of Man.  He did bear all things becoming sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).  He did endure all things – drinking the full cup that of God’s consuming wrath – taking it from us.  Love never ends.  Just like He said – He hurried back to life again.  They will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.


Risen from the grave the Son of Man commanded you to be brought to him – not to restore physical sight but spiritual sight - to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  He did so with all the authority in heaven and on earth.  At the font He didn’t ask you as He did the blind beggar “What do you want me to do for you?”   In the baptismal rite you were however asked, Do you desire to be baptized?  When faith speaks, it speaks of gifts given and to be given.  Your sponsors answered “yes” speaking true the gift you were being given by the mandate of Jesus Christ.  For everything in God’s gifts depends on His Word and His command.


The water included with God’s command and combined with God’s word made yours a water and Spirit baptism.  The Holy Spirit is the one who makes what is dead alive and gives sight to the blind.  In that gift He gave you the eyes of faith.  The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). 


Beloved your greatest treasure is the spiritual discernment, the faith given to you by the Spirit of God.  Christ crucified is not folly to you!  You see there God’s love– Love that bears all things and endures all things – Love that never ends!  The fruits He brings to you from the cross in His Word and at His altar you discern to be gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation – not foolish things.  This is not your own doing!  It is not due to your wisdom.  That you are blind no more – that the ever new, ever incredible miracle of the forgiveness of sins shines forth in your life is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Praise the one breaks the darkness…turning blindness into sight. 


You are a saintly sinner as you are distressed by the faults and weaknesses of your sin and sigh for God’s grace.  As the blind beggar was not turned aside from his cries for mercy, so also you are not to grow weary in prayer for God’s help.  Even now Christ intercedes for you!  Even now He is on the way not to Calvary but from Calvary to serve you with His healing gifts and He does not grow weary in giving His gifts to you!


As you enter the Lenten season, do not hear again Jesus’ passion as if you know it too well!  Reason will never believe that this is necessary.  But you have been given the sight of faith and faith believes it and rejoices in it.  Whatever refuge you need – the greatest is God’s love – and His steadfast love is for you. 

 

“Receive your sight” He said to the poor beggar telling of something that did not exist until He spoke it.  God who works wonders has also proclaimed to you a marvelous gift that has not yet happened.  This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40).  Your bodily resurrection has not happened yet but it will.  And when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away!  Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


You do not know God’s love too well!


In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a