Sunday, February 14, 2021

Blind see. . .

Sermon for Quinquagesmia, preached on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

The blind leading the blind.  We do not know what we do not know.  A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.  We are blind – we can see just enough to make us dangerous – not simply to others but especially to ourselves.  As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we see through the mirror dimly, through a fog.  That does not mean we see nothing.  It means that see some things clearly and other things not at all.  The problem here is that what we see makes us think we see everything while if we knew what we did not see, we would know we are blind.  We see what we see clearly but we do not see everything and things we do not see can be a bigger problem than what we see clearly is a benefit.

That is a problem.  It is a problem for someone trying to make sense of statistics – whether they are economic statistics trying to tell us where we are now and where the future is headed or they are CDC statistics designed to convey the state of COVID affairs today.  We can see that statistics well enough but we do not always know what they mean.  We are dangerous because we do not know what we do not know and so we speak as experts on things we do not know well.

But the problem is made worse when it comes to the things of God.  We read the Scriptures and we know well enough what the words say but we do not know what they mean.  We read words, familiar words to us, but they convey the eternal truths of God and when we read those words out of their context they become dangerous to us – as dangerous as a child who knows what knives are supposed to do but does not know what they can do in the wrong hands.  A child can understand Jesus died for them but the danger is that children believe the Scriptures are child’s play.  And that threatens not only our existence today but our eternal life in Christ.

You have heard it said on TV:  Do not try this at home.  But we do.  We do not know what we do not know and so we presume to know enough.  This is the knowledge that makes us so dangerous – to Scripture, in witness, and to our selves.  That is why God appointed them apostles and prophets and still trains up pastors in the way they should go so that God’s people will get it right and not wrong.  Some times even pastors screw up and that is why God hold’s them to a higher standard than He does others.  But that is also why God has given us pastors – to proclaim the mystery of God with conviction and with clarity that many may be saved.

In the beginning of the Gospel Jesus foretells His death for a third time.  Come on boys, we are heading to Jerusalem where the Word of the prophets will come true.  I will be betrayed, mocked, spat upon, whipped, and killed.  And on the third day I will rise again.  That is what Jesus says.  But as Scripture tells us, “they understood none of these things.”  The words they knew; the Gospel they did not.  They thought they knew everything but in terms of the cross, they knew nothing.

So Jesus heals a blind man.  Again, they knew what they saw but they did not understand it or how it happened or even why it happened.  They did not know what they did not know.  They needed Jesus – not simply to heal the sight of a blind man but to overcomes the blindness of sin that covers our eyes and fogs up our minds, deceiving us with what we do know and what we do not know that we do not know.  We see through the mirror dimly.  Perhaps not even as much as the disciples saw and not as much as blind Bartimaeus saw when he cried out to the Son of David for mercy and healing.  

We open the Bible and suddenly a passage jumps out at us and we are like blind Bartimaeus, drunk with our sight we presume we see everything.  But we do not know what we do not know.  We forget that we see through the mirror dimly.  Our eyesight is limited.  It must be corrected and completed.  We need faith, for we see most clearly not by sight but by faith, trusting in what our minds cannot comprehend and our hearts fear – the surprise of God’s grace, mercy, and favor.

We see through the cross.  Jesus began this passage with the prediction of the cross, of His suffering and death, and of His resurrection.  The cross is the lens through which our eyes may see and our minds understand God.  The cross tells us what cannot know except through the cross – that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son into death, that we might believe in Him and have life in His name.  But even the cross does not tell us everything.  It does not explain why some believe and some do not, why some are healed and others are not, when our Lord will return in His glory, and who we will be numbered with on high.  But the cross tells us the one thing we need to know about all of these – they come from and through Jesus’ suffering and death and resurrection.  Trust in Him.

My friends, we need to be careful.  We must be guarded and kept by God in this faith.  Not only are we threatened by enemies out there but by the weakness in here – the blindness to our limitations, our deafness to His voice, and our stupidity to His wisdom.  We are blind.  Even redeemed in Christ, we do not see everything clearly.  What we see is the cross.  

And when we see the cross, we see all that we need to see.  Your faith has made you well.  Your sins are forgiven and your lost life is rescued and redirected to the goal of the Kingdom of God.  And you realize that you do not know everything.  But not knowing everything does not mean you do not know the one thing needful.  In fact, when we as the blind because of sin see Jesus, we see what God intends us to see.  We see what God wants us to see.  We see what we need to see to be saved and we see what we need to trust Him for until we are fully and finally saved and in His presence on high forevermore.  

This whole thing is about faith, about living by faith, seeing by faith, and trusting this faith to everlasting life.  Amen.

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