Friday, March 20, 2020

Lent 4

Lent 4
22 March 2020
John 9:1-41
I am the Light of the World

God of all mercy, by your prayer to heal and to forgive, graciously cleanse us from all sin and makes us strong.”

The Fourth Sunday in Lent was formerly known as Laetare Sunday. Taken from the first Latin word of the Introit, Laetare, meaning to “rejoice.” 

We rejoice. Even in the midst of suffering. We rejoice.  Even though we are called to ventures of which we cannot see the ending.  By paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  We rejoice. As we go out with good courage. Not always knowing where we go. But in the knowledge that Christ’s hands are leading us. And His love is supporting us. 

We are now half was through the season of Lent. The daylight is growing longer.  The second half of Lent begins in a lighter mood. In preparation for the depth of sorrow. - Coming in the Savior’s Passion. 

These are dark days. 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. 

Paul exhorts Christians as children of light to walk in the light of goodness. Jesus brought spiritual vision to the man healed by blindness. In our Prayers for today – we pray - 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!

In Jesus’ day. And in many respects. Even today - The popular view is that sin causes suffering. It was held that sufferings were the direct result of a specific sin. In the case of the man born blind, the disciples asked, “whose sin” caused the handicap. Was it nature? Or nurture? Was the poor man the product of his environment? Or, was a person to be blamed for his condition?  Was it his parents’ sin? Or was it his own?

Jesus’ response is telling. He answered that no one sinned in this case. True. Some suffering can be self-inflicted. But in this situation. The Savior asks us to understand a new concept. - We should see suffering as an opportunity for God’s healing.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

In the midst of our current troubles. We can confidently seek refuge in our God. Who promises to help us in all upsetting situations. He, who was willing to give up His Son for us and for our salvation.  Who promises to be with us always. Will certainly not abandon us now. Let us remember and trust in Him always. Even now.  As we walk through these challenging times. The Lord is with you. We look for guidance. He will lead you. He will order your days. And direct your path.

Jesus comes to the rescue when a person is rejected. All because of his defense of Jesus. The healed man was excommunicated. Ostracized. And cast out. A penalty next to death! From henceforth. No one was to have any dealings with this man. 

When man comes to his extremity - Christ comes with compassion and support. Here is an insight into Jesus’ love for the downtrodden and oppressed.  

Forty years ago Debby Boone’s hit song “You Light Up My Life” refers to the boy or girl who lights up the other’s life. The lyric appeals to people’s basic needs.  We want someone to light up our lives. That we may have love and happiness. If a lover can light up a life. How much more can Jesus Christ. The Light of the world. Bring light. Love. Joy. And truth to a person! In the Gospel for this day, Jesus becomes the light of a blind beggar.  

In the Gospel lesson for this morning Jesus has an encounter with a man born blind. We are given insight by the power of the Spirit to give us vision.

Today we see how Jesus can light up your life.

I.        Jesus has promised to Light up your darkness — V. 40. “Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”  We may be blind and not know it.

A.      Before we can come to the light. We must be aware of our need of light. There is the dualism of light and darkness. Christ is the light. While the world is in darkness. Darkness may at times overcome the light. Jesus sees His upcoming death as the hour of darkness. Thus, He must work now while there is light. The light shall ultimately conquer the darkness of evil. The book of Revelation portrays heaven as a place where there is no night.

B.      Jesus Christ is the very source of that light. This we confess in the words of the Nicene Creed.  Jesus Christ is “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (made of the same stuff as)  with the Father…

Transition:  Jesus lights up your darkness. – He also gives light to see.

II.     Jesus Give light for you to see — V. 5. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 A.      Jesus gives Light to see who you are — V. 2. “His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Only Christ. Who is “the cloudless Sun of joy,”  is the only one capable who can disperse the darkness of sin and error with the true light of truth. God our Lord and Master. Is not some monster. Enthroned in the heavens. Heaving lightning bolts at naughty children and all the “dirties” of this world. –Arresting and convicting those who get out of line or misbehave badly. 

He is not content with merely punishing those who commit sin. He came to destroy sin. Completely.  He’s more serious about your sin then you could ever be!  He has devised a plan by which our sin has been dealt with once and for all. He bore our sin in His own body on the tree. And then buried them forever in His tomb. Your sins will never see the light of day. For they are forgiven. Forgotten. And gone forever.  To receive the Savior’s gracious favor.  To see the Father’s face. Has been accomplished by Jesus Christ the righteous One. There is but one word for us to ponder – Repent!

B.      Jesus gives Light to see the meaning of life — V. 25. He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. The Pharisees could not accept Jesus as a man from God. In their view, a man of God does not break God’s laws. 

Was this Sabbath law the law of man? Or of God? For Jesus. Human values were higher and of more importance than legal matters. Man has a priority next to God.  Laws are to serve the needs of man.  In contrast to the light of the healed man. The Pharisees are in the darkness of sin and unbelief. They are divided. Some claim He comes from God. Others reject Him. Because He dares to heal on the Sabbath.

C.      Light to see Jesus is the Savior — Vv. 35-37.  Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

This man. Born blind. Receives physical and spiritual sight. It takes a whole chapter to tell the story.   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 ignorance to truth.  From being an agnostic at best to becoming a person of faith. We see the formation of faith. From “the man called Jesus.” To “a prophet.” To “a man from God.” To “the Son of Man.”

Blindness is a terrible condition — life full of darkness. Close your eyes and imagine living with this handicap the rest of your life. 

I can remember a number of years ago we took the children to tour Mammoth Cave. We entered into a huge room. The tour guide explained to us that he would turn out the lights in the cave. For us to experience total darkness. Although the lights were off for just a few seconds - The experience still lingers. – The experience of total darkness. A “darkness that could be felt.” (Exodus 10:21) A darkness that suggests total separation. Permanent isolation.   

God is light. He gives the light of vision to His children.  While physical blindness may not be a problem. There are other forms of blindness that are worse.

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, victorious or successful lives. "Winning!" is not the goal. But for them to meet Jesus. – the light of the world. 
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Words – 1,685
Passive Sentences –6% 
Readability – 86% 
Reading Level -3.3 

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