Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent – 03-19-2023
Psalm 23: 1st Samuel 16:1-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
Our Lesson from the 23rd psalm is only 6 verses long, and yet it gives us invaluable and comforting information. It reveals many ways that God shows His loving kindness and protecting power. It is a prayer of love of God and His Divine Presence. Though He may not always change our circumstances, we are assured that He is with us throughout the worst of times and the best of times. He is the Loving Shepherd and Caring Host; whom we looked to for leadership, guidance, and protection, but is now situated in the sanctuary, described as the abundance of eternal provision. We can gain confidence in God, and our confidence through our prayers only strengthens our bond with God ever stronger.
From our Old Testament from 1st Samuel, we read that God had removed Saul as king of Israel and chosen another, a son of Jesse of Bethlehem to be king. Samuel was told by God to take a heifer with him to Bethlehem to sacrifice for the Lord and honor the one to be the new King, for Saul had disobeyed God’s commandments. God had chosen Saul initially, but he heard turned cold to God’s commands and he had grown away from God. God chose David and while neither were of royal lineage, people look at their leaders stature and God looks at the heart. A lesson for anyone who rises to leadership positions, for they were selected for attributes they had, not from their leadership of their hearts.
Samuel stood near the fire and when the people had come, they awaited for Jesse and his sons to arrive. Each walked by and God told Samuel no, not this one until they had all walked by. Samuel told Jesse none of his sons had been chosen by God, then asked: “Do you have?” Jesse answered, “but one is attending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him: we will not sit down until he arrives.” David was for and when he came he was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him: he is the one.” Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.
From the Epistle from Ephesians talks about Christian Ethics, our character. We ought to present a life-style to the world which projects a stark contrast the world’s ways. A life that exhibits thanksgiving and peace and an inclination to find and express the truth as opposed to the world’s way which lead to darkness of mind and soul. The Bible gives us instructions and descriptions of worship in the New Testament, though somewhat vague. Simplicity is the best word to describe early church worship services. Those services featured praise, thanksgiving, singing, prayer, Scripture reading, exposition, instruction in Christ’s teaching the Lord’s Supper, and fellowship. I submit to you, these things we offer every Sunday morning in our services, there are liturgical scripture teaching between services and multiple people meeting during the week at various times. Fellowship, well we excel at these and enjoy seeing people and meeting new ones at these events, so that others who may wonder what’s going on here Sundays. We also had a calendar of events in our bulletin, which is always full of things within and outside of our church for people to choose from and get involved in. I would hope all would do so at they can and know they can even with disabilities as well.
The Gospel of John concerns Jesus healing a born blind from birth. As Jesus and His disciples passed by this blind man, the disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am, the light of the world.”
Jesus spat on the ground and then picked is up and made mud with the saliva and put I on the man’s eyes. “God, he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam.” So the man obediently did as Jesus told him, washed his eyes and he could see. Then things get confusing, for the man’s neighbors and others who had seen him day after day began questioning who he was?! He looked like the man they were used to seeing, but now he sees. Is he another man they asked? They asked him, what happened? He answered him, “the man named Jesus made some mud, put It on my eyes, and then told me to go to Siloam and wash.” I did as told and now I see. “Where is he now? He said, I don’t know.
Now the former blind man is brought before the Pharisees to answer for what had happened to him. He repeated what Jesus had done, and he went to Siloam to wash his eyes and he could see, just like that. Some challenged Jesus for not keeping the Sabbath, others said he was a sinner. Finally they asked the former blind man what he thought about him and he said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews were still unbelieving and asked the man’s parents and fearing problems said, “Ask him, he is of age!” He repeated his story and they hurled insults at him from all sins. The man answered, “Now that is is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of a man born blind having his eyes opened. He was thrown out.
Jesus heard he was thrown out and went to him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. Jesus said, “You have now send him, in fact, he is is the one speaking with you.” Then the mane said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said to him, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were wit him heard him say and and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not e guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” Jesus was, of course, pointing out their “Spiritual Blindness.” But more later. Amen