Christ Lutheran Church
March 22, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
They said to him, "You were born in utter sin and you would teach us?" And they excommunicated him! Jesus heard that they had excommunicated him, and when he had found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" And he answered him and said, "And who is he, sir, so that I might believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You are looking at him, and the one speaking with you is he." He then said, "I believe, Lord! And he worshiped him! Jesus said, "It is in order to judge that I came into this world, so that those who do not see might see, and that those who do see might be made blind."
Now some of the Pharisees who were near him, heard these things, and so said to him, "What? Are we also blind?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind no sin would be charged to you. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains. (John 9:35-41)
Jesus manifests and reveals and makes himself known to the least likely people of all.
We are those people.
In last week’s gosple he went through Samaria in order to find the Samaritan woman. She told him that when Messiah comes he will reveal all things. To which the Lord answered, “I, the one you are talking to, am he.”
In today’s holy and sacred gospel the Lord reveals himself to a blind man. He restores his sight just like the gospel says, but he did more. He opened the eyes of his heart. Of his core. Of the very center of his being, of his soul and of his spirit to SEE! To see Jesus from the inside out; and from the outside in. So that he was now permeated with Jesus.
We are too.
How did this happen? It happened in baptism. Both last week’s gospel and today’s have water in common. Both accounts have baptism as their underlying theme. As does the entire gospel of John.
But why talk about baptism now. We are all baptized, it is a past event. But there we are wrong. We never speak of baptism in the past tense. We never say: I was baptized. But I am baptized.
That means that I am washed from my sins, just as like St. Paul was when he received holy baptism in Acts 22:16. Ananias the man who baptized him said, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
If you ever doubt that your sins are forgiven remember your baptism. Every Christian should look up the date of it, keep their baptismal certificate handy, and celebrate it every year as we do our birthdays.
But don’t forget that baptism presupposes sin, for only sinners can be baptized. Those who are blind to the will and ways and words of God. Those who have perfect vision for every vain pursuit and sinful pleasure, but cannot see Jesus.
Until you come to terms with what we pray in the confessional prayer: that we are poor, miserable sinners who deserve temporal and eternal punishment from God. Until we come to that admission and confession we will never know the mercy and love of God.
But once we have achieved this blessed state of being, of knowing and confessing our sins, our true spiritual state as children of Adam: then knowning that you are in the state of baptism is the highest good. Not only for the peace of conscience it gives; not only for the fear of death that it removes; but also it makes us New Creations In Christ.
It is by baptism that the words of today’s epistle come true for us:
“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
There is one other thing about having our spiritual eyes opened in baptism! It allows us to see the present emergency in a different light than the hysterical world does.
Dying of the plague is the worst thing the would can imagine right now. But no one thinks of the eternal death and everlasting plague of dying without Christ. Of suffering not only temporal punishment for their sins, but eternal punishment as well. We must take this with the utmost seriousness, the eternal punishment of hell from which Christ saved us.
Now we know that God allows plagues and troubles of all kinds to enter the world. As with Job, he sometimes gives the devil a free hand to wake up God’s people by suffering. The devil counts it all joy, but in the process of afflicting us God is doing his work. Doing it while it is day, before the night comes when no man can work.
As Luther once pointed out the devil is God’s devil. That is to say he is a creature and he, too, must finally do the will of God. If not of love … for that ship has sailed for Satan. Then out of God’s Supreme and Majestic power by which Christ subdues all things unto himself. To which even the Evil Fiend must submit.
And so this present emergency is also under God’s control.
Because we love our skin we pray that it is soon over. But better to pray: thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Because God is doing his work here.
And don’t be afraid whatever might come for Scripture says: many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
Find your consolation in the fact that you are a certified child of God. That your sins are not charged to your account, but were charged to Christ’s on the cross. And then do as the blind man who received his sight: Believe in him! Worship him! And all will be well.
Fear not little flock, says Jesus, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Amen.