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BETHLEHEM LUTHERAN CHURCH: | Mason City, Iowa USA | Pastor Mark Lavrenz

Mar 26, 2017  SERMON ARCHIVE

Sunday Sermon - Pastor Lavrenz Stained Glass - Communion

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our heavenly Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Amen.

The text for our meditation today is a portion of the Gospel Lesson for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, John 9:1-7. There we read these words:

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 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 and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

We begin in the name of Jesus, AMEN.

"There's something wrong with your baby." Those are words capable of striking terror into the hearts of any Mom and Dad. In fact, we don't even like the idea of talking about it, as if it were a taboo to consider the possibility and that by even saying the words, a curse might be placed upon someone’s baby

A natural reaction when a defect, some illness, is hidden from view, especially when it is not so easily detected in an infant, is for the parents to state, "There's nothing wrong with our baby! Do you hear me? Nothing wrong! You'll see. Just wait."

But there really was something wrong with that baby, and in time, the parents discovered exactly what it was that was wrong with their son. He was blind and there is nothing that can tug at your heart-strings or be more pitiable than a baby groping in darkness.

Nothing in this world could be done and so everyone just lived with it. The one who could not see learned to get along and to make do. His parents, over the years, dealt with it, accepted it, and made him ready to assume as much responsibility for himself as possible.

After all, if the statistics held true for this family, he would outlive his parents. So, the blind baby became a blind toddler, and then a blind teenager and then a blind man who was of age and certainly capable of speaking for himself.

In the fulness of time, as the man sat in the darkness of the day, he heard the voice of some men and realized they were talking about him. They were speaking about his condition of being blind and were asking someone, ... a certain someone who, as far as the blind man knew, was a roving rabbi, a traveling teacher, ... asking him what about the cause of this blind man's blindness.

That was a bit rude, don’t you think, this reference to the man in third person within his hearing. "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Stained Glass Baptism Window

Suddenly, a single Voice spoke in this man's world of darkness. "I am the Light of the world." The man's ears picked up on this Good News. Here was something new. But what did this mean for the man born blind? How was this news going to do him any good?

And then, suddenly, this rabbi, this Jesus "spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam."

And please note. The man born blind was not offended at the means of the promise; He was not repulsed by this spittle of God, this dust of the earth, its preparation or its application. He did not ask about the rivers of Damascus (2 Kings 5:12). He did not ask, "How can spittle do such great things?" [If there had been some Lutheran-type in the crowd, surely that one would have replied, "It is not the spittle, indeed, that does them; but the Word of God which is in and with the spittle; and faith which trusts such Word of God."]

The blind man did not try to change Jesus’ Word or to seek a blessing where none had been promised. He took Jesus at His Word and trusted that He Who had spoken was able to accomplish it. The blind man heard the Word Jesus spoke, and that was everything he needed. "So he went and washed and came back seeing."

Born blind. An awful condition. Conceived in the darkness of the flesh and knit together in a mother's womb. Blind within another double darkness of that first abode and then violently brought forth and cast into a place where the Light of the world is needed.

A little baby is born and everything seems just fine. No problems and someone says, "Your baby is perfect!" Mom is radiant; Dad beams; Grandmas pass the baby back and forth; and Grandpas ... well, they kind of stand back, smile and wonder what they ought to be doing, other than smiling and standing back in wonder.

But there really was something wrong with that baby, and not that baby only, but every baby born of man and woman. It's sin ... not the baby's act of sin nor any particular sin of the baby's parents. It's part of human nature.

You are, dear friends, as am I, by nature sinful and unclean beginning at the moment of conception. From the very moment our little bodies are first formed in the womb, you and I are capable of sin, capable of acting contrary to God’s Word.

You know what. At this, some people jump into angry, denial mode. Others are aghast and offended that anyone would attribute anything to a newborn infant but pure innocence.

Ah, but remember that adults who deny such a truth as original sin are but sinful infants who have been living for twenty or more years in denial of who they are. Neither the infant born in mankind’s fallen condition, nor the adult who has had decades to refine living in, with and under said nature, would know the difference between the darkness and the light. One in such a world of hurt does not really know what darkness is because that one would not know what lightness is.

Stained Glass Confirmation Window

Only God can cure it and in His mercy and grace, He has provided the solution. He sent His Son. The Water of Life was cast upon the earth, conceived in the clay of a maiden, and formed into a single cell ... God was Incarnate.

For nine months the Light of the world dwelt in the darkness of a woman's womb. He was born in the darkness of a stable's night and the star above marked the place.

Jesus fulfilled the Law in your place, and at high noon on a Friday that we call "Good," when He was dying on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, all yours included, "darkness was over all the land until the ninth hour" (Matthew 27:45).

When your salvation had been secured, our Savior commended Himself into His Father's hands and closed His eyes. His Body was taken down from the cross and placed in a lightless tomb. There they placed His lifeless clay.

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn" (Luke 24:1) Jesus Christ rose from the dead. A certain woman though standing outside the tomb could not see her risen Redeemer. Her eyes were filled with tears and stained with grief. Only when her ears heard Jesus say her name was she able to see the Lord.

All of this is the Good News of Christianity and this is the message of hope that people have believed throughout the centuries.

All of this was done by Christ and preserved by the Lord that "the works of God might be made manifest in" all people. This too, as we heard last week, is a Divine necessity. Christ must do this work and He calls His Church to the task. "We must work the works of Him Who sent Me."

Therefore he says to a man born blind, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which means Sent)" and to the eleven, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

So who is the man born blind and who has now seen with his ears? Is it just the man that Jesus met that day, or is it someone else too? The man born blind only had God's Word and it was both sufficient and necessary. Therefore, "he went and washed and came back seeing."

You also only have God's Word and it too is sufficient and all that is needed for your life. Therefore it may be said of each one who has been baptized, "he went and was washed and came back seeing."

Together, you, me, that newborn baby, this old man, the woman in the pew here, the youth in the pew there, that child, this toddler and all of God's people have heard the truth with our own ears and we have been blessed.

So now, what does this mean? Only this ... that you, you who are baptized in the Name of the Father and of the (+) Son and of the Holy Spirit, are forgiven of all your sins, you are heirs of eternal life.

Truly, even though you cannot yet see it, hear it with your ears. Christ Is Risen.


Luther Rose


Christ Is Risen
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