S-1422 4SIL/3A 3/30/2014 Hymns: (O) #8; (S) #20; L.S #151; #311; #234; (C) #12
Texts: Isaiah 42:14-21; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39
Theme: “LIGHT in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-9)
Question: “How does Christ’s light informs us on so many levels?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Epistle lesson “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),” (Ephesians 5:8-9).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Children of the light, while teaching His disciples Jesus said these words: “I Am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). And yet, many people don’t know Jesus intimately or walk in His light that leads to eternal life. Many in our world act as if they are in the light, but in truth they are walking in darkness that leads to death.
I remember when I was a student at Huron College; I had taken a gerontology class (which is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging). During one of the sessions, we were to experience a handicap of a sort. I chose to be blind for a day. With the help of my colleagues, my eyes we wrapped so that I absolutely couldn’t see anything. Everything around me was dark—I was submerged into a different word of blackness. I needed assistance to do many things—get to places, fill my glass, get food. Everything that I did was a challenge. There was only one comfort through this experience, that this was only temporary and not permanent. It taught me that darkness overwhelms your every being and holds you in slavery.
Though this was an experiment during a class session it helped me grasp the truth of what it is like to live in darkness. How would you feel if you couldn’t see and walked in darkness always? Yes, we have eyes to see exactly where things are in our world: posts, poles, pavement, and people.
But there is another type of darkens. It is the lack of vision for the things of God. What’s it like to be without God, a future and thus hope, without a destiny beyond the grave? That is the ultimate blindness, the deepest darkness, isn’t it? Living in blindness like that complicates life.
Paul in our text is speaking from personal experience. He shares with the Ephesians’ churches and us. That at one time we were in darkness but now we are in the light—light in the Lord. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world; we belong to Christ who is the Light of the world.
However, twenty one centuries later many are still in the dark. Oh, I know that there was a time when there were no street lights, cars didn’t have head-lights and homes were lit up by oil lamps. Even though our world glisten with all color of light, it is still void of the true light—the light of Christ that removes darkness, especially the darkness of sin.
Christ brings people out of darkness into light. All of the people with whom the Rabbi from Nazareth came into contact had a darkness of some kind in their lives. Aged Simeon long years but an unfulfilled life; the palsied man had experienced the frustration and despair of a permanent infirmity; Martha’s life was identical with a busyness and superficiality that lacked meaning; the thief on the cross looked eyeball to eyeball at a closed future; and in the Gospel for this morning a man who had physical blindness. The entrance of Christ into the lives of these people brought dramatic changes—they received LIGHT in the Lord.
Sadly 21 centuries later life is no different and many people are still living in the darkness of godlessness and artificial Christianity. Many are the stopped ears and hardened hearts. Many are the blinded eyes and the darkened minds. What the Lord reveals is not always what we want to hear and see. Modern man’s problem is that he has filled his life with lights of various kinds (the light of a promising professional future, of abundant materialism, of extensive knowledge, of spectacular entertainment, etc.); though he still lives in darkness. PAUSE.
We saw this just recently as the Court in Michigan ruled that homosexual marriages are not legal or permissible. But the Federal government in their blindness and arrogance didn’t like that ruling and said, “They are against the ruling, and support homosexual marriage.” How tragic that people are still walking in the dark even today, because they think they know better than Him who created the light in the beginning and who brought that light to our world when He was born to be one like us.
To this darkened world Christ comes and with Him brings light, life and promising future. We who at one time were in the darkness like Paul and the blind man in our Gospel reading now have light in the Lord. Because of the grace of God we are no longer walking the darkened street of death and destruction; we walk in the streets of grace and mercy. For our eyes have been opened just like the blind man in the Gospel lesson today.
However, sin hardens our hearts, turning them to stone. We will never see that more clearly than in the case of Jesus’ enemies who coldly and callously abused, ridiculed, taunted and tormented Him in His agony. We have that same stone-cold heart when we see our neighbor suffering and in need and feel no pity, no concern for his or her plight. We are no different than many if we have eyes that are opened but shut them because we don’t want to stand out and speak up for the sake of the Gospel and the souls who are still lost and are in darkness.
We ought to be bold and brave, faithful and friend, caring and compassionate and tell the truth to those who are in darkness as the ex-blind man stated: “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”
Would to God that we would all, be as bold and courageous as this man was, and speak in love so that those whose eyes are blind might see the truth of the love of Jesus, who removes the scales of blindness and opens our eyes to see; just as He had done to Paul the author of our text. PAUSE.
What is happening here are two types of seeing—physical and spiritual In it we learn of the blindness and the blindness of the soul (that is, without God) and what it means when the Savior relieves and reverses both physical blindness and spiritual blindness. And through the Light of the Lord this ex-blind man grows in Christ as we hear the progression if his view of Jesus from “man” to “prophet” to faith in the “Son of Man” to worshipping Him as “Lord”.
Likewise, we too, at one point were darkness as Paul puts it, but now you are light in the Lord. On account of the Savior our eyes have been opened. First they were opened at the font when the pastor said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Through the mighty and powerful Word, we hear the great and glorious news of what it is that Jesus has done and continues to do for us—forgives us, fills us with faith and finalizes our future. We are reminded of this in our baptism also with these words: “He calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” And through His life-giving body and blood He opens our eyes to see Him as the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.
It is in that sacrificial act of the cross, that we see with eyes of faith how Jesus the Light of the world was sent to the abyss of darkness on our behalf. It is on the cross that our eyes are opened to see how coldly and callously He was treated and taunted and tormented by those who are still in darkness. It is in the cross and the empty tomb that our eyes are opened and we cry saying, “Lord, I believe You are the LIGHT of the world and my light!” Amen.
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA.