LUKE 18:31-42; 1 COR. 13:1-13; 1 SAM. 16:1-13
JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


The number seven is a number of Divine completeness.  One would think that among seven sons of Jesse – the man to be anointed king would be found.  And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.  And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 


Initially Samuel thought otherwise!  Looking on the height and the appearance of Eliab he had said, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before him.”  Oh, how we are affected by outward appearance.  Much political clout is based on appearance – on the impression the media creates or refuses to create.  Relationships can quickly begin with outward appearance as an unspoken cornerstone. They can just as quickly crumble.  We so easily pass judgments on people by their looks – their weight – their height – their dress – their smiles - their airs.  The Lord looks deeper.  As Samuel was misdirected by the impressive appearance of Jesse’s older sons, the Lord said to Samuel…”the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”


Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”  And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.”… And he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome.  And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him for this is he.”  Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers.  And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.

QUINQUAGESIMA – MARCH 2nd – 2014
LUKE 18:31-42; 1 COR. 13:1-13; 1 SAM. 16:1-13
JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


The number seven is a number of Divine completeness.  One would think that among seven sons of Jesse – the man to be anointed king would be found.  And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.  And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 


Initially Samuel thought otherwise!  Looking on the height and the appearance of Eliab he had said, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before him.”  Oh, how we are affected by outward appearance.  Much political clout is based on appearance – on the impression the media creates or refuses to create.  Relationships can quickly begin with outward appearance as an unspoken cornerstone. They can just as quickly crumble.  We so easily pass judgments on people by their looks – their weight – their height – their dress – their smiles - their airs.  The Lord looks deeper.  As Samuel was misdirected by the impressive appearance of Jesse’s older sons, the Lord said to Samuel…”the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”


Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”  And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.”… And he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome.  And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him for this is he.”  Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers.  And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.


King David he became - replacing tall, handsome, wealthy, Saul – whose heart was disloyal and disobedient to God.  King David – the shepherd youth – the slayer of Goliath – the singer of Psalms.  For a time under this anointed king there was greater stability and greater loyalty to God’s direction in Israel.  But David’s heart was also seen to be anything but a royal heart.  From it issued lusting and coveting and adultery and murder and deceit – stealing Bathsheba - sending Uriah to his death in battle – believing he could cover it all up.  His heart was seen to be made of the same sinful stuff as Saul’s – the same stuff as his son Solomon’s and all the kings who followed.  Their royal crowns and garments could not cover up their fallen and rebellious hearts.


The Lord sees not as man sees…the lord looks on the heart.  As David was anointed by Samuel with oil and the Spirit rushed upon him, so David’s greater Son – the child born of Mary in David’s town – was anointed by the Spirit in the Jordan.  Samuel’s question of Jesse applied at this time to all the inhabitants of the world.  Are all your sons here?”  Are all the men and women – all the children of the world before God and not one can be found who is righteous?  There was yet one Son – equal with the Father – who did not stand before God in the flesh.  Because the heart of every man, woman, and child is sin-infected – the Holy Son of God came down as man.  As John baptized Him, the Holy Spirit descended on Him - and with the Father sent forth his beloved Son.   That was the beginning of the Anointed One’s public ministry.  The Messiah’s journey through Jericho to Jerusalem in our text was near its end.


As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging.  Begging was largely the vocation of the blind in Jesus’ day – no braille – no seeing-eye dogs – no candy striped canes – no bird-chirping signals for crossing a street.  Just sitting and begging.  And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.  They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”  And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”   Noise is natural for a crowd and before Jesus was abreast of him he began to raise this shout – “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!”  The title “Son of David” was a synonym for the Messiah.  The prayer of the blind man shows that he already had faith in Jesus.  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!”


And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  No doubt they were sensitive to embarrassment as this beggar was raising his voice and pleading for help.  Luther said that such loud clamoring for alms makes us tired and turned off but that such bold petitioning pleases God well.  This man doubtless struggled with conscience and with those urging him to keep quiet.  He was, after all just sitting and begging, while the throng was seeing and on the move.  However, both his great need and his great hope constrained him.  He would not stop!  He cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Again 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.”


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.”   What a wonderful expression!  “Receive your sight.”  No human pennies for this beggar – but rather a gift transcending human bounds.  With great authority – Christ gives the light of physical sight to him who already knew in faith the light of the world. 


This is the last miracle St. Luke records for Jesus’ before His entering the holy city to be handed over.  The center of human history was close at hand!  That’s why – 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.  Not only is His passion the center of human history – it is also what the Old Testament prophetically and persistently proclaims.  There is no other program for man’s salvation outside the flesh of Jesus Christ – not in real estate named Israel in Palestine (believers in Christ are the New Israel) – not in predictions of earthly political kingdoms or timetables or dispensations – only in the flesh of Jesus.  The Scriptures are fulfilled only by Christ’s suffering in our stead and rising again!


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.”  But they understood none of these things.  This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.


You see, the blind man’s condition testifies to a greater blindness which is the state of every man and woman born of Adam.  We are blind to the depth of our sin but easily see fault in others.  We are blind to eternal realities and easily governed by temporary events and outward appearances.  Dear Christians, do you see the miracle in you – that you understand what Jesus was saying?  Do you see the wondrous gift of faith you have received by God’s grace?  It is not due to your wisdom that you see Jesus’ passion and death with thanksgiving.  It is not your doing but the work of the Holy Spirit that you understand God’s gift of healing, forgiving love poured out on the cross for you.  Beloved, this is the sure foundation.  You are blind no more!


Can you imagine anyone thinking of Jesus on Golgotha? – “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.”  But the Lord does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  With pure heart the Messiah came before God as the sacrificial Lamb – carrying the full blindness of our sin.  King David was handsome.  King Jesus – no so much.  Isaiah said of Him – “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him…no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2).  King David was ruddy looking with youthful reddish face.  King Jesus’ visage, when winning a kingdom for you, was pale – the redness was of blood from a crown of thorns.  The water placed upon His head in that exchange was from the spit of human disgust.  Yet as God sees – it was a blessed exchange - which enabled water to be placed upon your head in a seal of Divine delight!  Because He has washed you – it is now said in truth of you – “Surely this is one the Lord has chosen.”


The Lord does not see as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  What does He see in your heart as you enter the season of Lent? Does He see love - love that is patient and kind – love that does not envy or boast – love that is not irritable – love that does not insist on its own way? Does He see love that rejoices with the truth – even when the truth is spit upon by power players in a shifting society?  Does He see love that bears all things - believes all things - hopes all things - endures all things?  In your heart does He see love that never fails? 


Take a good look at your heart’s condition as we enter Lent – and repent!  Turn from love of self – love of comfort – love of approval.  Repent – but do not despair.  He who went forth to die – also broke the bounds of death and hurried back to life!   God does not see as man sees!  In the mirror of God’s law you see a failure on many fronts – a sinner!  God sees you covered by the risen Son of David – clothed in royal beauty and beautiful light!  God sees you as the apple of His eye!  You are absolved by Christ!  You may not feel that God and His angels are laughing with you but that goes to the very first thing Luther said we are to learn from this Gospel.  That first thing is to believe God’s Word with our whole heart and mind…even though we do not feel or see it.  As he said, “Let us do God the honor in accord with the First Commandment.  God will grant and effect it precisely as promised.”  In His Son, the Son of David, He promises forgiveness, life and salvation.


The risen King loves to draw near and heal!  He continues to heal you from the inside out – to create your heart new - to open your eyes in the breaking of the bread!  In the twinkling of an eye the beggar joined the caravan and praised God.  He sat in darkness no more!  He was free to love!  But the truth is – that his freedom was dependent on his continued begging in a most blessed way.  It is the kind of begging God delights in!  Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me.  Blessed beggars such as you – see in a mirror dimly now – but in Jesus you see enough!  In His Name – 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