Sermon - March 19, 2023 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – March 19, 2023

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Year A
March 19, 2023

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Second Reading: 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41


Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. Amen

“Do Not Be Afraid”

(John 9: 1-41)

Our Gospel today, a blind man trying to defend himself on how he went from being blind all his life to now seeing. 

As Jesus and his disciples were walking in Jerusalem, they came across a man, he was more than likely begging, and Jesus sees that he is blind.  The scriptures tell us later that he was blind from birth, but not when Jesus came upon him. The disciples asked him…

“Rabbi (Teacher) who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s work might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Suffering was attributed to sin, either of the parents or of the man before birth. Jesus denies this explanation and shifts attention from cause to purpose; this is an opportunity for God to act. 

We must work, Jesus is including his disciples in the fulfillment of his mission.

Jesus had spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (Which means Sent) After the man went and washed, he was able to see.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he has healed each person in different ways. He might have touched them, or they reached out and touch him. He healed with words and actions of all kinds. He would be in public at times and in private at times.

This time, he is in the public eye and it is on the sabbath to boot. The blind man had not asked to be healed; Jesus seeks him out. The blind man first hears Jesus when he tells him to “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).

As one possessing the imperfection of blindness, the man was forced to exist outside the community of worship and forever not permitted beyond the gates to the synagogue.

Jesus’s meaning……. “Seeing and hearing and believing”.

The man must defend his position of seeing, he was born blind, but he could hear and after being healed he believed, even his parents didn’t understand and put it back on him…. they were afraid because if they spoke of a Messiah, it would put them outside the synagogue. 

The Pharisees miss the point of Jesus and his miracle, you could say they were spiritually blind. 

He, the blind man was driven out of the synagogue once again and Jesus heard about it. He finds him and speaks:

 “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him. “Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he. ‘He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him.   

God’s Amazing Grace

You have heard the Hymn Amazing Grace.  Amazing Grace…how sweet the sound!  

Yes, this man was born blind and he could not see with his eyes, he saw with something more powerful, he saw though the eyes of “Faith.

In the year of 2020 and 2021, the entire world, we were all! experiencing something unlike anything we have ever experienced. It was something we could not See!!…we were blinded by a virus we could not see!!  

But we had God’s amazing Grace. The world as we knew, had come to a complete crawl, with no planes, cruises, sports events — anything, and everything. We had not been kicked out of our synagogue but, we have been asked to close our churches and stop our services. At least the service where we are together as a church family. The walls of the church, with a small c are closed. But the Church with the capital C God’s church is always open. 

Scripture tells us “365” times in the bible, “Fear not” (“Do not be afraid”), that is one for every day of the year. Maybe God knew we would need that reassurance. We are in the fourth week of Lent, a time of self-denial from normal everyday things. The blind man was isolated, he had been isolated since birth and he was alone, but he could see through the eyes of “Faith.”Lent, leads us to the cross where Jesus is and we imagine the suffering that Jesus had. 

Suffering is a state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.

We ourselves have had to suffer loss in our lives, having family and friends diagnosed with an illness that may or may not be cured. It is all part of living and there is no reason to let fear control your life,

” Feed your Faith and not your Fears.”   

“As long as I am in this world, I am the light of the world.”

We have been given sight by the grace of God.

We have been given hope in place of fear.

Pray for one another, love one another, and help one another!

“Do Not Be Afraid”

The Reverend Lola Culbreath