Sermon for Lent 4 – 3.19.23

+ Lent 4 – March 19th, 2023 +

Series A: Isaiah 42:14-21; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

A (Formerly) Blind Beggar

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

At the famous battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.) the Persian thousands outnumbered the 300 Spartans. “Our arrows will blot out the sun,” the Persians yelled. Dienekes famously replied…”Then we will fight in the shade.”

 

Great quote. But what does that have to do with John 9. A blind beggar. And our Lord Jesus?

 

When you think about John 9, John’s Gospel, and the rest of Scripture, there’s a similar pattern. Our Lord does some of his best work in the darkness. Out of the darkness of creation, “Let there be light!” Out of the darkness of Egypt, “Let my people go!” Out of the darkness of Good Friday, “It is finished!” Out of the darkness of Easter Sunday, “He is not here, he is risen, just as he said!”

 

The darkness is no match for Jesus. Here in John 9, Christ our Lord reveals himself and fights for us in the darkness. It’s cosmic. Jesus enters the darkness of this fallen world. He appears to be surrounded. Outmanned. Outgunned. Satan’s arrows seem to blot out the sun. And yet, Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome.

 

It’s true on a personal level as well. Jesus fixes his eyes on this man. As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. Imagine being blind from birth Not the foggy, crusty eyes we all get in the morning. Not blurriness without our glasses. Maybe something more like being in the ape caves when the lights go out. This man’s entire life was lived in the darkness, until he met Jesus.

 

The man who couldn’t see was seen by Jesus. Overlooked. Looked past. Not by Jesus. Just another beggar. Not to Jesus. Jesus saw him.

 

The disciples saw him too. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

 

We’ve all asked this question in one form or another. What did I do? What did he do? Did I do something to deserve this? What we’re really asking in those moments is, “who’s fault is it? Who’s to blame?” Was it the blind man’s fault? His parents?

 

There has to be someone to blame. And, sometimes there is. The Ten Commandments reveal all kinds of ways we fall short. Sin breaks stuff. Sometimes that’s my fault. Sometimes it’s yours. Sometimes the sin that breaks stuff is so ground into the dust that there’s no way to figure out who to blame, short of Adam. He brought sin into the world. He passed it through DNA to the blind man and his parents, to you and me. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

 

But Jesus doesn’t play that game. As understandable as it is to ask it, don’t get hung up on the disciples’ question for too long. That’s a long, dark rabbit hole without Christ.

 

Jesus wants more for us than wandering around in the darkness finding blame to sling on each other like monkeys at the zoo. There’s no comfort there. There’s nothing but darkness, dust, and death. Instead, Jesus points to himself. You want answers? You want a way out of blindness? You want a way out the darkness of the grave?

 

It’s all there in Jesus. Jesus doesn’t assign blame. He speaks. He heals. He shows mercy.

 

Jesus directs his disciples, the blind beggar, and us, back to Himself. It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 

This is something that only Jesus can reveal. That this man’s was a canvas to display Jesus’ glory as the light of the world.

 

Remember, our Lord does some of his best work in the darkness. So, Jesus spits on the ground, makes some mud, forms some clay together. Works it in his hands just as he did when he formed Adam from the dust and clay of the earth. He rubs it all over the man’s face and eyes like a day-spa. And then tells him to go for a dip in the pool of Siloam.

 

How about that for the mighty works of God. Seems odd, but it is. Ordinary and mighty all at once. Spit. Clay. Jesus’ healing hands.

 

It’s a small town. Everyone talks. The neighbors don’t believe him. The pharisees disbelieve as well. They also call him a sinner from birth, as if they weren’t sinners from birth too. The Jewish crowds even try and involve the man’s parents. Eventually the formerly blind beggar is kicked out of the synagogue.

 

Jesus hears about it. Finds the beggar and says, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[c] He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”  Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”  He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 

 

A beautiful confession isn’t it. Ironic too. The blind beggar saw and believed in Jesus before he ever saw him with his eyes. While the pharisees and crowds who have seen Jesus’s signs and heard Jesus preaching. They don’t believe. But the formerly blind beggar believes. Jesus has been leading him back to Himself all along.

 

The same is true for us. That man born blind is all of us. You and me. Everyone. We’re born blind, steeped in sin, beggars. Just as a blind man cannot will his eyes to work, so we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ as Lord or come to Him. He comes to us in our sin, our blindness, our darkness. He “Christs” us in Baptism. Anoints. Christens with water, Word, and Spirit. Baptism is our Siloam, our sent water, where He sends us to wash and see.

 

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Therefore, walk as children of light

 

Our Lord does his best work in the darkness. For the blind beggar. And for you. Christ our Lord reveals his light and life in the darkness to save you.

 

Jesus heals the man and shows where God really makes Himself known. In the darkness, working mercy. Jesus in the darkness of our lives with his light and life. Jesus in the darkness of our doubt, despair, guilt, and shame, shining his righteousness, grace, and mercy. Jesus in the darkness of illness, anxiety, fear, and death, casting out the shadows with his word and promise.

 

Jesus in the darkness bearing our sin and blindness.

Jesus in the darkness of Good Friday, clinging to the cross, dying your place.

Jesus in the darkness of his tomb.

 

And then, Jesus out of the darkness of his tomb and ours on Easter Sunday.

 

In Jesus crucified and risen, we are all formerly blind beggars. Our Lord Jesus has done and will continue to do his greatest work in the darkness for you.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977