Midweek Lent I 2018

February 20, 2018

Series:

Our Lord is called “the Great Physician.” And it’s no wonder: no matter where He went throughout His earthly ministry, He was healing. He healed the blind, the lame, the leper, the deaf, those who could not speak. It didn’t matter what the disease was. If Jesus wanted to heal someone, they would be healed. Jesus came into this world to extend the hand of His Father’s mercy to everyone. Often He healed with words alone. But in many cases, He healed with His hands.

The man born blind was sightless with his eyes, but he was also spiritually blind. He did not know his Maker, and he did not know that his Maker was standing right in front of him in the person of his Savior, Jesus. This was a controversial healing, because the priests taught the false idea that a person’s blindness or other birth defects were the result of grievous sins committed by this person or his parents. People still think this way. Prosperity preachers want you to believe that illnesses, diseases, birth defects, and other ailments are God’s way of punishing those whose faith is weak. But our Lord silenced this myth Himself when He said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” God uses hardship to draw us closer to Him. Or as Paul wrote to the Romans, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

So Jesus set about to heal the blind man. He spat on the ground, making mud. And then He placed the mud on the man’s eyes and ordered the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam. And when he did as Jesus told him, the man could see! Faith led to obedience, and obedience led to healing. The hands of the Savior gave this man an entirely new perspective: the ability to see with his eyes for the first time.

But there was more healing to come. The man who had been born blind had no idea who had healed him. He addressed the Man who healed him as “the man they call Jesus.” Then he referred to Jesus as a prophet. But when the Pharisees questioned him, the man born blind insisted that it was Jesus who had healed him, at which point they became angry and threw the man out of the temple. Jesus asked him—and we must all face this question at some point—“Do you believe in the Son of God?” Still the man didn’t know the answer; he didn’t know who healed him. Jesus told him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” And finally the man gratefully confessed and worshipped Jesus, saying, “Lord, I believe!” The man received two great and powerful gifts. First, the Lord restored his sight. Second, he was brought to faith in Jesus as his Savior and Redeemer.

This is an outstanding parallel to how we received our spiritual sight. Thanks to the sin we inherited from Adam and Eve, we were born blind to God and His Word. And as He did for the blind man, Jesus sought us out. Jesus loves us so fully, so completely, that He would allow His healing hands to be nailed to the cross. What wondrous love! Just as the man who was born blind was given his sight by the saliva of Jesus, we are given faith to see Jesus present in His Word through the waters of Holy Baptism. Just as the man who had been born blind was cast out of the earthly temple by the self-righteous Pharisees, only to find himself face to face with God in the flesh, we are separated from the self-righteous prosperity preachers, brought face to face with our Lord who gives us His body and blood to eat and to drink at His holy altar. He touches us, and we are healed.

Jesus has given you the sight to see Him, not as a mere prophet, not as some guy who happens to be named Jesus, but to see Him as your Lord and Savior. The hands that healed the blind man are the hands that were nailed to the cross. And there on that cross, those hands won the healing of your soul from the death your sins would bring to you. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.

 

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