December 15, 2013

“He Makes the Blind to See”

(Matthew 11:2-15)

TEXT:  Matthew 11:5 ~ “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.”

 

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

 

Let us pray:  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Salvation.  Amen.

 

Introduction:  When we get to heaven, what will be the first thing we say to Jesus?  A professor once told me we would say, “I’m sorry…”  I’m convinced from Scripture that sorrow will be no more, that we will instead say something more along the lines of: “Thank you!” or “Alleluia!”

 

Remember, faith is a crucial part of repentance.  While we should be leading lives of repentance, part of that would be leading lives of faith in the forgiveness that Christ won for us on the cross, knowing that we’ve been forgiven and always rejoicing.

 

In fact, this third Sunday of Advent focuses on rejoicing, based on Philippians 4:4 ~ “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

 

Notice the color of the candle is different today, taking a break from somber contrition to rejoicing in the Lord.  Pink (or rose) is the liturgical color for rejoicing.  During this Advent season of repentance, today we take a break from contrition and sorrow to focus on the joy that the blind can see!

 

During Advent we specifically focus on Christ’s “coming.”  I’ve been emphasizing the two comings of Christ, but Christ’s coming manifests itself among us also in a third way – not just the past and the future, but also the present. The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the past focus on the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation at Bethlehem. The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the future focus on his “second coming” on the Last Day at the end of time. And third, the readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the present focus on his ministry among us through Word and Sacrament today.

 

  1. Blind (examples from lectionary)
  2. Blind to our sin
    1. We make light of our lost condition
    2. We also make light of what we really deserve:  eternal punishment from God
    3. Blind to our Savior
      1. Without Law we cannot know the Gospel
      2. Being blind to sin, we are blind to forgiveness of sin…
      3. BUT the Holy Spirit converts us through the Word – He lightens the darkness of our hearts!
      4. God gives us sight!
      5. Examples from Scripture RE: sight
        1. Collect:  lighten the darkness of our hearts
        2. Psalm:  the Lord opens the eyes of the blind
        3. Old Testament:  They shall see the glory of the Lord… the eyes of the blind shall be opened
        4. New Testament: See how the farmer waits… Behold… you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful…
        5. Gospel: tell…what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight!
        6. Examples from Scripture RE: other images of being saved
          1. Gracious visitation
          2. gives food to the hungry.
          3. lifts up those who are bowed down
          4. Strengthen the weak hands
          5. make firm the feeble knees
          6. desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus
          7. and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
          8. then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
          9. and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
          10. For waters break forth in the wilderness,
          11. and streams in the desert;
          12. the burning sand shall become a pool,
          13. and the thirsty ground springs of water;
          14. The Lord sets the prisoners free
          15. He will come and save you
          16. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;
          17. everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
          18. they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
          19. the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

 

Transition:  Hearing and believing the Good News is the most important thing.  A sound heart is more important than sound ears, or sound eyes, or sound arms or sound legs.  More important that hearing and seeing and leaping is knowing we have eternal life from our Savior!

 

  1. Jesus Christ our God and Savior Who was, Who is, and Who is to come!
  2. Babe in Bethlehem
    1. Born to die
    2. For us!
    3. Judge on the last day
      1. He will have the last word!
      2. Declares us Holy, Pure, and Righteous!
      3. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
        1. In the Word
        2. In the Sacraments
        3. TODAY at this altar!

 

Conclusion:  Today Christ comes to us still!  He still gives sight to the blind!  Through his Word, he still makes believers of us!  Have the oil of faith in your lamps, so your eyes that were once blind will see your Savior when he arrives in all his glory to take you home!  Rejoice in the Lord always!  Again I say, Rejoice!

 

Amen.

 

The peace of God, which is beyond understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ our Savior, unto life everlasting.  Amen!