Summary: It’s God’s intention today that your eyes be open to see your Lord as one who has always been open to you and your needs. It’s 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. It’s H
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. He’s 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 couldn’t 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, we’re 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. It’s the top priority, and He’s done everything that needed to be completed. "It is finished." It’s something we ought not forget when things don’t go according to our way, when God’s will is something different. In His wisdom He doesn’t always give us exactly what we ask, not because He doesn’t 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. It’s His desire. It’s His aim. And He has spoken the Word to have it done.
Even as He spoke “effatha" 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 “effatha" over us today as He brings us His Word.
That’s the good news today. While we have at times tended to close the door to Him, He hasn’t given up on us. He speaks those words again today. "effatha. Be opened." My friends, it’s His intention today that your eyes be open to see your Lord as one who has always been open to you and your needs. It’s 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. It’s 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 as well.
And He hasn’t given up on us yet. Instead He speaks “effatha" every time He brings us His Word of Life, every time we gather in this house, every time we receive the sacrament, every time we open His Word. He speaks it with the real and fervent aim of speaking “effatha" one last time over us all; when He and all His angels return to open our graves and take us bodily into heaven. "effatha!" The one who does all things well is speaking it to you, He’s speaking it to me. And He’s speaking it with all the grace and might of His Word which still can open ears and mouths; eyes, hearts and hands. Amen!