Sunday, March 15, 2020

Lent 4 Series A

Lent 4 Series A
22 March 2020

Isaiah 42:14–21
Ephesians 5:8–14
John 9:1–7, 13–17, 34–39

Collects for Lent 4: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children, and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and  reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

By His Word of the Gospel, Jesus Calls Us Out of the Darkness into His Marvelous Light.

Today’s three Lessons harmonize on the theme of light, vision, and insight. Samuel is given the insight to see that of all the sons of Jesse, David was the one to be king. Jesus brought spiritual vision to the man healed by blindness. Paul exhorts Christians as children of light to walk in the light of goodness. Since David was called to be the shepherd of Israel, Psalm 23 is appropriate. We pray in the Prayer that we may be cleansed from the darkness of sin that we may be children of the light, which is Christ. From the light of spiritual vision, for the cure of our spiritual blindness, we can rejoice — Laetare!

The Lord is grieved by the spiritual blindness of His people, yet in mercy He does not forsake them. He restrains His anger and keeps His peace, until He opens their ears and eyes to hear and see Him. “For His righteousness’ sake” He magnifies His Word and makes it glorious in the coming of Christ Jesus (Isaiah 42:21). Jesus turns “the darkness before them into light” (Isaiah 42:16), because He is “the Light of the world” (John 9:5). 

The incarnate Son of God works the works of His Father and displays the divine glory in His own flesh “while it is day” until that night “when no one can work” (John 9:4). 

By the washing of water with His Word He opens the eyes of the blind and grants rest to the weary. Therefore, though “at one time you were darkness,” now “you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). 

By our Baptism into Christ we live in the eternal day of His Resurrection, wherein He shines upon us. As often as we fall back into the darkness of sin, He calls us by the Gospel to “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead” (Ephesians 5:14).

John 9:1-41—In the Gospel lesson Jesus, the Light, gives spiritual vision.  A man born blind receives physical and spiritual sight. It takes a whole chapter to tell the story of how Jesus brings spiritual light to a man born blind. The actual miracle is told in a few verses, but the healing gives an occasion for Jesus to bring a man from agnosticism to faith. We see the formation of faith: from “the man called Jesus,” to “prophet,” to “a man from God” to “Son of Man.” In contrast to the light of the healed man, the Pharisees are in the darkness of sin and unbelief.

Jesus’ day the popular view was that sin caused suffering. In the case of the man born blind, the disciples asked whose sin caused the handicap. Jesus answered that no one sinned in this case. Some suffering is caused by sin, but we should see suffering as an opportunity for God’s healing.

People need to know how Jesus Christ can give them perfect vision that they do not stumble nor fall in life’s journey. This is the message the Savior has given to you – not to get people to behave, not to get people to live purpose driven or successful lives, but for them to meet Jesus – the light of the world. 

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, 
March 22, 2020 (John 9:1-41)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

…he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (vv 6,7).

God has consistently used the natural to connect man with the supernatural.  For example in the Old Testament He used the natural fruit of two normal trees to bring life or death to mankind.  He used a bronze serpent on a pole to convey healing from poisonous snake bites. He used a tree to make bitter waters sweet.  He employed the blood of lambs daubed on door jambs to deliver the Jews from death.  The Jordan River was God’s healing agent for leprous Naaman.  And as a final example—and there are many more—God used the sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament to bring communion and forgiveness to the people of Israel.  Was there magic in these things?  No!  That which empowered such things was God’s Word, and the center of such Word is the eternal Son of God.

So also in this Sunday’s Gospel account Jesus employs spittle-generated mud.  Some look at this miracle and are offended by both the spit and the mud.  This muddy spit is foolishness to some and a stumbling block to others. However the incarnation and humiliation of the Son of God are being illustrated. With this spittle-mud there is the magnification of God’s incarnation; this is God’s spit.  The Son of God truly had and still has spit—and flesh and blood. The fact that the mud was a physical, tangible substance also then magnified Christ’s salvation for physical, fallen man in a physical, fallen world.

The Son of God is incarnate to do dirty business.  Dealing with sin, sickness and with the fallenness of mankind is dirty business.  Going to the cross is dirty business. How appropriate that the Son of God should create mud with His saliva and use this mud to reverse blindness!  It was truly sacred mud!  It was mud directly linked to the Word made flesh, for it was made not just by Him but from Him.  If the dirty Jordan River could heal Naaman of leprosy, should not the mud made from Christ’s saliva heal the man born blind?  Does not God use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise?  So the Christ would go to the cross, and people would witness His agony and bloody sweat.  They would hear the parched one whose spit had made healing mud call out, I thirst.  People would witness the torturous death of an apparent criminal, and yet there at the cross hung the physical man Jesus who was redeeming physical man from sin and physical death, and whose physical resurrection would then seal this victory for fallen, physical mankind.  We now know that even as His body rose from the grave, so our bodies will rise from the dust, never to die again!

Now, continuing His Old Testament practice of using natural things to convey the supernatural, the Son of God has given us physical, sinful pastors to speak absolution.  He has given the water of Holy Baptism to wash from sin, connect with Christ’s work and give new birth. And He has instituted a meal of bread and wine so that we would partake of His very body and blood, the body and blood physically given and shed on the cross for our eternal—physical—life.  Indeed, praise God that He has applied the “spittle-mud” of Word and Sacraments to our eyes, so that we who were blind now see—forever!

John 9:1-7 -
:1 Καὶ παράγων εἶδεν ἄνθρωπον τυφλὸν ἐκ γενετῆς.
    As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.

:2 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ λέγοντες• Ῥαββί, τίς ἥμαρτεν, οὗτος ἢ οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ, ἵνα τυφλὸς γεννηθῇ;
And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Still asked today...we don't deserve bad...

:3      ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς• Οὔτε οὗτος ἥμαρτεν οὔτε οἱ γονεῖς αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ’ ἵνα φανερωθῇ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.
     Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Jesus does answer as it is asked in faith. Faith hears a promise... not an explanation. NOT that this man sinned BUT that the Father's work might be revealed...not that he receives his sight but the faith given...either way would deny original sin...because God Willed him to be born blind...that he might receive faith...that the works of God might be me Jesus...the God Who goes to die...the real miracle is seeing Jesus...

:4     ἡμᾶς δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πέμψαντός με ἕως ἡμέρα ἐστίν• ἔρχεται νὺξ ὅτε οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐργάζεσθαι.
     We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

Not the first time John uses night and light...yet a significant theme...the end...the darkness will come on Good Friday...

:5       ὅταν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ὦ, φῶς εἰμι τοῦ κόσμου.
          As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  

Need Vs. 5 to explain 4...

:6  ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἔπτυσεν χαμαὶ καὶ ἐποίησεν πηλὸν ἐκ τοῦ πτύσματος, καὶ ἐπέχρισεν [c]αὐτοῦ τὸν πηλὸν ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς,
    Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. 

Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud. - See Genesis 1 & 2, John 1 creation happening again...

:7 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ• Ὕπαγε νίψαι εἰς τὴν κολυμβήθραν τοῦ Σιλωάμ (ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Ἀπεσταλμένος). ἀπῆλθεν οὖν καὶ ἐνίψατο, καὶ ἦλθεν βλέπων.
  and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

No need of the pool according to OT Rabbis... 

John 9:13-17

:13   Ἄγουσιν αὐτὸν πρὸς τοὺς Φαρισαίους τόν ποτε τυφλόν
       They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.

:14 ἦν δὲ σάββατον ἐν ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ τὸν πηλὸν ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἀνέῳξεν αὐτοῦ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς
      Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.

:15  πάλιν οὖν ἠρώτων αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι πῶς ἀνέβλεψεν. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Πηλὸν ἐπέθηκέν μου ἐπὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, καὶ ἐνιψάμην, καὶ βλέπω.
     So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see."

:16  ἔλεγον οὖν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων τινές• Οὐκ ἔστιν οὗτος παρὰ θεοῦ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, ὅτι τὸ σάββατον οὐ τηρεῖ. [c]ἄλλοι ἔλεγον• Πῶς δύναται ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτωλὸς τοιαῦτα σημεῖα ποιεῖν; καὶ σχίσμα ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς
    Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them.

:17  λέγουσιν οὖν τῷ τυφλῷ πάλιν• Τί σὺ λέγεις περὶ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἠνέῳξέν σου τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν ὅτι Προφήτης ἐστίν.
      So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."

John 9:34-39

:34    ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ• Ἐν ἁμαρτίαις σὺ ἐγεννήθης ὅλος, καὶ σὺ διδάσκεις ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω.
     They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out.

:35   Ἤκουσεν Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω, καὶ εὑρὼν αὐτὸν [b]εἶπεν• Σὺ πιστεύεις εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;
        Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

:36    ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος καὶ εἶπεν• Καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε, ἵνα πιστεύσω εἰς αὐτόν;
         He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"

:37   εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Καὶ ἑώρακας αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λαλῶν μετὰ σοῦ ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν.
        Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you."

:38   ὁ δὲ ἔφη• Πιστεύω, κύριε• καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ
        He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him.

:39   καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται.
         Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."

-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Crucifixion’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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