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Summary: The nature of Lent - the call of journeying to the cross, and being healed by the One who makes the journey...

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Concordia Lutheran Church

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Journey of Mercy

Luke 18:31-43

† IN JESUS NAME †

May our eyes be open to the incredible blessings of the Father’s mercy, as they are poured out on us as we journey through life, in Christ. AMEN!

Today, the church year changes. We leave behind the manger, and the basic ministry of Jesus – and with the ashes of Wednesday, we start a journey towards the inevitable crucifixion of God.

The setting of our liturgy becomes more meditative, as we contemplate the sufferings of Christ – the sufferings he endured for us. We could focus on the desperate state of mankind, that required Jesus to leave heaven behind…but this year, I think we need to realize the message some blind people learned in today’s Gospel reading from Luke.

That Jesus came to heal us, to open our eyes, to help us to see.

That was His mission – that was His journey, a Journey of Mercy…

Whose really blind?

The disciples regarding the prophecy

The man besides the road?

I cannot believe it is simply a coincidence that Luke would write the paragraph that begins Lent, and follow that up with a story about blindness being healed. As Jesus tells them of what awaits them in Jerusalem, the disciples are even more blind than the man on the side of the road.

“34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”

To make a point, in those days, you repeated the thought, but using different words. It’s called parallelism, and it probably still is a very effective way of communicating.

Two times puts emphasis on the point. Three times…drives it home.

“34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”

In front of them, this journey towards the torture and death which Jesus proclaimed clearly, yet they were blind – more blind than the man who couldn’t see.

Perhaps it was the joy of the moment, after all, they were walking with Jesus! They saw miracles, they heard the great teaching, they were fed, along with thousands. Things were good, even if the ministry was pretty simple as they travelled from town to town. If they knew, would they have abandoned Jesus? Would they have tried to stop Him?

Perhaps it was good that they were blinded?

They were completely blinded – perhaps the best analogy this Valentine’s Day, is that they were like a young man, completely head over heals “in love” with his girlfriend. In his eyes, there is nothing that is not beautiful about her, her eyes, her voice, her smile, her parents, her siblings… and he imagines a perfect life, in the little roadside cottage with the 72 inch flat screen, and her smiling as she hands him another beer during the game…

Oh yeah, they were blinded. What downside could there be to the ministry, walking along with the one they KNEW was the side of God?

I think, that we today get in the same kind of pattern as the disciples. Ministry may not always be perfect, church may be challenged, but we realize we walk with God, and all will be set right. We like the cross, because it shows us the hope of the future. But we struggle with crucifixes, those cross still picturing Christ nailed to it, tormented by the pain and agony. We would far prefer to forget what happened there. We would also like to forget why he hung there. (remember pause here)


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