Lord, that I may see!
February 2, 2014, GRATIA Lutheran Church, Denmark, Rev. Leif G. Jensen,
Gospel: Luke 18.31-43
31 ¶ Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to
, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 "For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 "They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." 34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken. 35 ¶ Then it happened, as He was coming near Jerusalem , that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, "What do you want Me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." 42 Then Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. Jericho
Introduction: Jesus says, "Behold" And he shows them the main action! But none of the disciples are able to see and understand his words. Nevertheless they follow him. When they later come to
a blind man cries for help. The disciples warn him to be quiet. But Jesus stops and asks: What do you want me to do for you? And he says, "Lord, that I may see!" The blind receives sight and sees ... Oh that the disciples also could see and understand! ... We will pray, "Lord, that I may see!" Jericho
1. What we understand
The first thing they understood, "Behold, we are going up to
." So they had done all their life. It was part of being who they were. At Easter they were to Jerusalem . They looked forward to it even more than we look forward to Christmas and the summer holidays. Jerusalem
In the same way we as Christians fold our hands, grasp about the Bible, and go to Church Sunday morning. We just do it. We go to church in order to be together with Jesus Christ and his church. That we do understand even if we sometimes do not understand why it is that important and significant.
The disciples followed Jesus just like we stay together in our family and marriage – and in our congregation.
2. What we do not understand
But then comes that which is beyond our understanding: “… and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man must be met ... he shall be tormented, killed and rise again " ... But the disciples grasped nothing of it. They could not understand it. It was like hidden words.
a. That's what would happen to Jesus they did not understand. Not because the words were fuzzy. No, Jesus’ words were simple and clear. And he even explaining that "all what is written by the prophets about the Son of Man must be fulfilled: He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and they shall mock him, abusing him and spit on him, and they shall scourge him and beat him, and on the third day he shall rise again." We know from the Gospels that Jesus had prepared the disciples in advance: And it came to pass, when Jesus finished praying, and the disciples were with him, he asked them ... ' But whom say ye that I am?" Peter replied, "God's anointed” ... Jesus said, "The son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."(Luke 9:18-23). Even so conceived they do not. I wonder if the reason was that they could not get it to fit with the ideas and dreams that had arisen with them when Jesus talked about salvation, peace and liberation. How could the voice of the master should suffer defeat in
. Why? Jerusalem
We can also here remember two disciples who Easter Sunday went to Emmaus and talked about how frustrating it was that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried - and that some women had reported that he had risen. And Jesus came to them as a stranger and said, Oh, where are slow-witted to understand what the prophets have foretold that the Christ had to suffer all this to be your savior! And he showed them from the Scriptures, that all this had to happen. In the same way Mary and Joseph 20 years earlier had great difficulties understanding what Jesus did to them: And he said to them , "Why are ye sought me ? Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father's business? 'But they did not understand what he said to them. (Luke 2:49-51). Is it then surprising if we need help to understand and comprehend what true Christianity is?
b. But there was also another side, which also made it incredible difficult for the disciples: namely that Jesus added that the Cross would also leave its traces in the disciples' lives : ... Addressing all, Jesus said: "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
- It was hard to accept for them, and it has not become easier to accept for us today that faith in Jesus and discipleship means that you must deny yourself and daily take up your cross and follow Jesus.
But doesn’t words of Salvation, Hope, Love and Faith indicate that everything bad is getting better and that difficulties gradually are overcome here in this life? How can Jesus say, however, that we must deny ourselves? And how can he say that there is a cross in our lives and that we even daily have to lift up and carry on. Didn’t he carry his cross for us? - What does he mean? Would anyone like to be Christians in this way: Their Master is put to death! And they must deny themselves! - But … didn’t Jesus offer them an alternative? And isn’t there any alternative today for us?
No. There is no other way than the way to
. Not even today. The disciples were eyewitnesses to Jesus' suffering and death. And during the days in Jerusalem they learned much about their own pride, arrogance and how they were disciples at the expense of others - instead of being disciples for each other and for others. Jerusalem
3 So it's good that he invites us to follow him to
– to Easter! Jerusalem
God must do something for us and with us that we realize that we need a crucified Savior. It is necessary for us to understand that he dies for us. We need him desperately. - And then we can rejoice when he rises from the grave. He IS our Savior. Hallelujah!
If we do not know much about ourselves and our own guilt and death, then the message of Jesus' death and resurrection has no importance and no value for us. It is almost just an equation with minus and plus, death and resurrection, and then everything is fine. But what does is the meaning for us? It is just a story about a man in another time and culture. Therefore Jesus had to invite the disciples to follow him to
. He could not explain it to their minds. They had to experience it themselves. Jerusalem
In the same way with us. Our problem is not that we do not understand the words of Jesus' death and resurrection. The problem is that we do not see the need! The problem is that we can not realize the need to live in love and that we argue against the idea that we must daily lift up the cross of love and carry it as disciples. - In this situation we hear a blind man crying and praying: "Lord, that we may see!" Show me how good it is that you go to
. Let me see how you suffered pain and died. Show me your love! Show me why it is necessary for you to die on the cross! Jerusalem
4 Other Christians before us have prepared something good for us in the coming weeks. In the next few weeks, Christians in the
, Middle Age and at Reformation time found help in the words of Scripture in the weeks before Easter. They followed Jesus for Easter celebration and listened to him. And we are invited to do the same. And all the way, we can pray this prayer : "Lord, that I may see ! " Old Church
Here we have God’s word so that we can arrive to “
” and celebrate Good Friday and Easter. What a blessing! Jerusalem
5 Behold, we go up to
! And on the way God has promised us to show us nothing less than the love with a capital L, so that we may witness that: “love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:3-8). Therefore, we are pleased to look forward to Easter time during the next 7 weeks. And it is important for us that we travel together. For if we travel alone or if we stay at home we will experience no call from others to help and show mercy, and we will not hear or feel the demands to love each other! We should not live at a distance from each other avoiding the requirements of love in our lives. If we live in a safe distance from each other we may be able to enjoy ourselves, but we will never realize that we need Jesus Christ, who loved us to the end. Jerusalem
- Let us accept the invitation and use Lent to walk together and take Jesus' words to us as we pray, "Lord, that I may see!" Amen.
www.vivit.dk. Evangelical Lutheran Free Church. firstname.lastname@example.org.