QUINQUAGESIMA – FEB 7, 2016
TEXTS: LUKE 18:31-43; 1 COR. 13:1-13; 1 SAM. 16:1-13
JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME
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. Amen.


The German noun zeitgeist comes from an earlier century. It literally means time spirit or spirit of the age. It is the general trend of thought – the intellectual, cultural, and moral climate of a particular time. The zeitgeist of our day includes some thought that man’s rescue is found in outer space if only we can get there and live there. More recently the zeitgeist of today seems to espouse salvation by technology – a technocracy of sorts. One thought is to merge humans with computers so that mankind may escape death. By combining organic and inorganic parts - minds created inside computers by genetic and cyborg engineering - indestructible life is proposed. All the characteristics of life - without the limitations of flesh and blood!


Like the zeitgeist present at the tower of Babel, like the zeitgeist of rationalism arrogantly denying God’s activity, this current philosophy has the appeal of man rescuing himself – scaling any height or even the depth of death by his own resources. However, whatever marvels of engineering are envisioned every human is infected with sin – and the wages of sin is death. Ideas of man-made indestructible life are idolatry and will not stand in the judgment.

 

All the religions of the world (also known as philosophies and world views), all the zeitgeists of the generations teach that our hope lies in ascending higher - to supposed godlike status. Only Christianity teaches that our hope lies in God descending to us - becoming man. 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.” Jesus here makes His third and final passion prediction that St. Luke records. The Son of Man –repeatedly made clear the work His suffering would accomplish.

QUINQUAGESIMA – FEB 7, 2016
TEXTS: LUKE 18:31-431 COR. 13:1-131 SAM. 16:1-13
JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME
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. Amen.


The German noun zeitgeist comes from an earlier century. It literally means time spirit or spirit of the age. It is the general trend of thought – the intellectual, cultural, and moral climate of a particular time. The zeitgeist of our day includes some thought that man’s rescue is found in outer space if only we can get there and live there. More recently the zeitgeist of today seems to espouse salvation by technology – a technocracy of sorts. One thought is to merge humans with computers so that mankind may escape death. By combining organic and inorganic parts - minds created inside computers by genetic and cyborg engineering - indestructible life is proposed. All the characteristics of life - without the limitations of flesh and blood!


Like the zeitgeist present at the tower of Babel, like the zeitgeist of rationalism arrogantly denying God’s activity, this current philosophy has the appeal of man rescuing himself – scaling any height or even the depth of death by his own resources. However, whatever marvels of engineering are envisioned every human is infected with sin – and the wages of sin is death. Ideas of man-made indestructible life are idolatry and will not stand in the judgment.


All the religions of the world (also known as philosophies and world views), all the zeitgeists of the generations teach that our hope lies in ascending higher - to supposed godlike status. Only Christianity teaches that our hope lies in God descending to us - becoming man. 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.” Jesus here makes His third and final passion prediction that St. Luke records. The Son of Man –repeatedly made clear the work His suffering would accomplish.


But the zeitgeist of that day looked for a different rescue. The zeitgeist of the religious leaders and even of those whom Jesus taught for three years was yet moved by a different spirit. They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them and they did not grasp what was said.


Jesus was constantly acting to remove false views of His kingdom. Yet the popular zeitgeist for the Messiah was that He and His followers would receive earthly honor and esteem. The twelve mistakenly expect a joyful Passover feast as they journey up to Jerusalem. The crowds mistakenly expect Jesus to be a bread King – earlier trying to make Him one by force (John 6).


God’s love for you in Christ goes beyond the daily bread of your earthly life. His love never ends. His love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The zeitgeist of Jesus – the true Spirit of Jesus’ age – is the Holy Spirit bringing eternal life through His gift of faith in Jesus. It is that gift of faith that the blind man is given! Those who should know are blind and fail to understand while this blind beggar sees clearly through His ears.


As they drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. Imagine his struggles of conscience in the zeitgeist of that culture. You recall the question of Jesus’ disciples concerning a man blind from birth. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) The position in life of the man in our text is one of scorned beggary. That was his vocation as he sat by the way. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.


That title agitated and engaged him! And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Son of David” was a title for the Messiah. Through his ears the blind beggar sees in faith that Jesus Is the royal, Messianic Man promised in the Old Testament. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”


Those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. His begging for help seemed out of place in the zeitgeist of this festive throng. These pilgrims were seeing and on the move – going somewhere. He was just sitting in the darkness – going nowhere - begging. In this case the spiritually blind seek to hinder the physically blind. In no uncertain terms they told him to keep quiet. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” The verb is imperfect – he would not stop crying out.


Dr. Luther said that such loud clamoring for alms makes us tired and turned off but that such bold petitioning pleases God well Quoting Luther – “Here was a real alms seeker and genuine beggar, the kind our Lord covets. O Lord! I am a poor sinner, grant that your kingdom come to me, forgive me my sin, help me. Whoever begs like this, unashamedly, is doing right and our Lord God loves it. For, He is not as sensitive as people are.” The sensitivity that Luther identified here is the perspective that you don’t like to be a bother – you don’t like to repeatedly ask for help – you certainly don’t want to be thought of as a beggar. However, in this matter of our standing before God and what pleases Him – God’s thoughts are surely not our thoughts!


And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he 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).” Dear Christians – no pennies for this blind 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!


This is the final miracle St. Luke records for Jesus before He entered the holy city to be handed over. The healing of this blind beggar represents the healing needed by every human being – born spiritually blind – in need of sight that only the Son of Man can give. From going nowhere, this beggar was soon going with Him who is God’s love in the flesh. And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. He was testifying to the heaviness, the weight, the wonder of the authority and the love of Jesus, the Son of David. He was proclaiming the God who works wonders in the flesh.


What wonderful glory to proclaim as we stand at the door of the Lenten season. This act of our Lord trumpets a beautiful word to us needy and dying sinners. You are hereby heartened not to be bashful about your great need! God loves to hear you say – “I have need – I have great need – help me.” For sometimes it’s like I’m sitting in the dark by the side of the way with the crowds of this world passing me by. It’s like I don’t matter. Lord help me! Sometimes it’s like I see no good in the future for the darkness of this present evil age is so deep. The darkness of my feelings can be as well. Lord help me! It’s like people want me to keep quiet – like no one wants to hear the depth of my real need – to listen to the severity of my struggles. There, there, chin up – think positive – trust more – you shouldn’t keep bothering God. But I have to – Lord help me!


If I lack love, patient love, kind love, truth-rejoicing love, enduring all things love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. Lord help me! Remove the harsh sounds of my impatient, compromising, imperfect love! If I judge by outward appearance, my own, others, the world, I will surely choose wrongly. Yet I am overly influenced by all that. Lord help me! For you do not see as man sees, but look on the heart. When I think of what you see there – in my heart – I must cry out - “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” The Greek word here is one Dr. Luther did not want us to forget – eleison – eleison (have mercy). Kyrie eleison – Lord have mercy So we continue praying in the blessed beggary of faith.


This is the last miracle Jesus did before entering the holy city to work the gracious miracle that gives the true Spirit to all ages and that brings light into this world’s darkness. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. His crucifixion, His sacrifice for the sin of the world, is the great, eternal accomplishment. For he will be delivered over … they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”


Beloved of God - this saying is not hidden from you! You do grasp what Jesus said. You know that on the third day He did rise from death – no cyborg – but flesh and bones. You know that He commanded your baptism and therein covers you with Himself. You also grasp in faith what the risen Lord keeps on saying. In faith you hear Him say – I forgive you. In faith you receive His absolution – “peace be with you.” As Jesse and his sons were invited to the sacrifice to anoint David, so the Son of David, the Anointed One, invites you to continually receive the fruits of His forgiving sacrifice. “Take eat,” “drink of it all of you,” “keep on doing this.”


He is a rock of refuge for you. He loves to hear you voice your great need and pray for His healing. “What do you want me to do for you? He invites you to pour out your heart to Him and He comes to save you with His steadfast love. Praise the One who breaks the darkness with a liberating light.


You are no longer sitting in darkness but rather on the way with Him who is God’s love. Love is the greatest because of its duration. When you see Him face to face – when you know fully even as you are fully known – there will be no need for faith or hope. When the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. But love remains. So now, faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.