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Be Opened

(29)

Sermon shared by Karl Eckhoff

September 2003
Summary: Itís Godís intention today that your eyes be open to see your Lord as one who has always been open to you and your needs. Itís His desire that your hearts cling to Him in faith, that they be open to the fire of His Spirit of faith and new living. Itís H
Denomination: Lutheran
Audience: Believer adults
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who does all things well. This is Jesus who had nothing but the manís well being in mind. This is Jesus who doesnít wish to drive us away nor lead us astray; but now having our attention desires nothing less than to open our ears to the truth of His word, our eyes to who He truly is, our hearts to receive Him by faith, our hands for greater service, our mouths to sing His praises before others; and out of an undying, always ďopen for serviceĒ devotion for us He has set out to do just that again today.

As Jesus was quoted to say in the 12th chapter of this same Gospel, "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." Jesus took not only this man aside to set his attention on Him. Heís taken the eyes of you and me and the whole world and fixed them upon Him on the cross so as to speak to us in a way we couldnít help but understand.

In His suffering and death and in His being forsaken of God we see the seriousness of our sin. We see just how far we have drifted from the will and way of our God. Yet we see more. In His silence and complete willingness to go to the cross without a fight, we see the merciful intention of God to remove our sin from us Himself because He knew we could not. In His words He would have us know that we have a God who forgives the greatest of offenses. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." With the care he showed for His mother, weíre assured that He cares for us. "Mother behold your son. Son, behold your mother." Our well-being is important to him, but our salvation is essential. Itís the top priority, and Heís done everything that needed to be completed. "It is finished." Itís something we ought not forget when things donít go according to our way, when Godís will is something different. In His wisdom He doesnít always give us exactly what we ask, not because He doesnít care, but because He has something better, always with our eternal life in mind and that of others. We see that loving care in His blood, sweat and tears, in the giving of His all so as to open for us the way to eternal life. And with His hands opened wide He would communicate that He intends to give these things and more to you and me and to all. None are to be excluded. None are to be kept away. Itís His desire. Itís His aim. And He has spoken the Word to have it done.

Even as He spoke ďeffatha" over the deaf-mutes head so He has done the same over ours in the water and word of Holy Baptism. There in those Holy waters He gave you and me the eyes to see His great love. He gave us the heart to receive in faith; all that He has done in His life, death and resurrection. He opened our hands to joyful service, little as they were then. And He continues to speak ďeffatha" over us today as He brings us His Word.

Thatís the good news today. While we have at times tended to close the door to Him, He hasnít given up on us. He speaks those words again today. "effatha. Be opened." My friends, itís His intention today that your eyes be open to see your Lord as one who has always been open to you and your needs. Itís His desire that your hearts cling to Him in faith, that they be open to the fire of His Spirit of faith and new living. Itís His design to open wide Your hands in service to others, even as He has opened His wide unto you, that others may know this good news
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