Divine Service February 26, 2017 Quinquagesima
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Faith is the open and empty hand that receives what Jesus gives. Faith is the hand that begs for Jesus. Faith looks like you at the communion rail with hand open to receive Jesus's very body given into death for you.
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
Faith is not knowledge. The demons know that Jesus is going to Jerusalem. The demons know that Jesus is going to do for you. But the demons have to faith. Their knowledge drives them to hate Jesus and His people. Faith is not knowledge but trust that Jesus will do what He says He will do. And Jesus, the trustworthy one, rose on the third day after He died.
38 And the blind beggar cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is faith. Faith comes by hearing. The blind man can hear. Faith is like a beggar who opens his hands when he hears someone approach. The beggar's faith is that Jesus is the promised Messiah; the promised Seed of David. His faith cries out for mercy, that the Christ who is heard approaching will be kind to a lowly blind beggar.
Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind beggar know the Holy Scriptures. He knows Isaiah 29:18 where it is written:
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
This is a prophecy concerning the resurrection but since Jesus is bringing the resurrection to Jerusalem in Himself; meaning the resurrection is starting:
The beggar said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Jesus.
Jesus is merciful. Jesus is kind.
Faith asks. Faith cries out like a beggar with open hands. And Jesus responds in kindness and mercy.
Faith trusts that Jesus will be kind and merciful to you. Died in your place and rose again on the third day. Faith trusts Jesus. Faith believes that the resurrection has already begun in Jesus, so the rules and norms of this fallen world are already dying away. Faith believes Jesus that in Holy Baptism you have already received a new nature. You still have an old nature that doesn't listen to Jesus, but you also have a new nature that trusts Jesus and holds out empty hands to receive what does and gives for you; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.