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SERMON: Jesus Comes For Sinners -- Fourth Sunday In Lent

I know I mentioned this before, but one of the things I've really enjoyed about becoming a Confessional Lutheran is learning about the Church Calendar, Feasts, and Seasons that we commemorate throughout the year.

As someone who didn't attend church for years except on the "Big 4" (Christmas Eve, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter), and now as someone who has attended for the last 2 years or so only to realize that our LCMS Church would rather be Evangelical in their approach to preaching sermons that are only very loosely connected to the Church Calendar, the Internet and Social Media has been a blessing to me!

This week is no exception. This is a beautiful sermon from Pastor Tony Sikora of Hope Lutheran Church in DeWitt, MI for this Fourth Sunday In Lent.

Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — Jesus Comes For Sinners

March 30, 2014
Sermon Text: John 9:1-41

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. John’s gospel the ninth chapter.

A. Jesus Comes for Sinners

Beloved in the Lord, Jesus has come not for the righteous but for sinners, not for the well but for the sick. Those who are well have no need for a physician. But those who suffer know their condition, they know their need. They need a doctor. Jesus comes for sinners.

To receive Jesus one must first know about sin. The Pharisees think they know about sin but they are blind. They cannot see. They have knowledge but they are ignorant. They are well versed in Holy writ but have not faith. They are proud of their piety but they lack righteousness. They tout tradition but embrace legalism. They are eager to root out the tares with little concern for the wheat. They see with their eyes, but the log in their eye will not allow them to see past themselves. They take up stones against Jesus. Jesus hides Himself from them. He passes by unscathed.

Jesus sees very well. Seeing a man born blind He refuses to pass by him. Jesus is come for sinners, for the sick, for those who know all too well their need for a physician. He stops to bring the Light to this man’s life, to open before his heart the wonders of creation and the joy of salvation. It is a light only Jesus can give. For He is the Light of the World, the Light which scatters the darkness, overcomes wickedness, shines into the very depths of the heart of men. Jesus comes for sinners. He comes for this blind man. He comes for you.

Is there a log in your eye? Are you quick to behold the speck in your neighbor while refusing to confess the curtain of branches hanging from your brow? Do you see like the Pharisees or are you blind. Are you suffering or are you well? Are you sinner or are you saint? Jesus comes for sinners? Has He come for you?

B. Sin is condition not just a deed

The disciples ask Jesus “who sinned, this man or his parents that He was born blind?” It is a question taken right from the talking points of the Pharisees. Suffering is the result of sin done, committed, either by you or by your parents. Therefore this man must be suffering because he or his parents sinned. Jesus comes for sinners and to receive Jesus one must know something about sin. To be sure, the disciples and the Pharisees know something about sin, but what they know is wrong. Like poor Jacob, they have known the woman they married, but with the advent of morning’s light, Surprise! It’s not Rachel. It’s Leah. They have been deceived, deceived into believing that sin is only something we do, that sin is not something we have.

If sin is only something we do, then by not doing it anymore we can fix the problem. In fact, by doing the opposite of sin, we can actually make things better. This is often what Christians are led to believe about sin. This is why so many Christians and even non-Christians believe that doing good works will make up for their bad works, their sin. The Law then becomes just a checklist as though we can look at it and mark off the commandments we haven’t broken for the day. “Let’s see, I went to church this week. I haven’t murdered anybody. I haven’t cheated on my wife. Etc, etc. etc.” With checklist in hand I can manage my spiritual life myself. I can be my own pastor, my own doctor, my own savior. But none of this really helps the blind man does it. None of that brings any peace to the heart, nor does it give me the forgiveness of my sins. I still have that log in my eye. I can’t see past myself and my checklist.

Awake! O Sleeper and rise from the Dead that the light of Christ may shine on You! Repent! All too often you’ve fallen head over heels for the wrong bride. And if you’re honest, she’s not so pretty is she? No! A life constantly trying to live by the law is not so pretty. Legalism only hardens the heart, so much so, that you’re ready to cast stones at Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the Light of the World ready to shine His Word on the depths of your heart and that’s the last thing you want to see. For seeing the condition of your heart will force you to acknowledge that sin is not just about deeds. Sin is a condition, one which all people are born with. Whether your eyes work or not, everyone is born spiritually blind to God. Everyone is born a sinner even before they ever committed a single sin. Jesus comes for sinners, for the sick, for the blind, for Pharisees, and for you.

C. Working the Works of Him who Sent Me

It should come as no surprise then that our Lord makes use of a man born blind to work the works of Him who sent Him. Though Jesus passes by the Pharisees, the righteous ones, the healthy – they don’t think they need Jesus – He refuses to pass by this blind man. Jesus has come for just such a person. The man can’t see Jesus, can’t look for Jesus, can’t make His way to Jesus, but Jesus sees, Jesus looks, Jesus makes His way to this man! Surely it is divine love which moves our Lord to such a one as this! For nothing else matters to Jesus. He has come for sinners, for the sick, for the blind of body and soul! He comes to make the blind to see, the dead to live, those who are nothing into everything He wants you to be! Creatio ex nihilo – that’s the way Jesus works the works of the one who sent Him. “Creation out of nothing,” children of God from the brood of vipers, holy men and women and children out of the unholy stuff with which we dirty ourselves day in and day out.

And so our Savior spits on the dust of the earth and with His hands forms and fashions out of the dirt an anointing for the man’s eyes. As was done so long ago in Eden the Son works His creative work with means. He covers the blind man’s eyes with mud and gives him a Word. How odd the works of God must seem to those who are blind of heart! How odd the Savior’s behavior. It is foolishness to all reason! Mud on the eyes to cure blindness? Who ever heard of such a thing?

But our God transcends our reason! He works scandalous works. His folly is love for sinners. His weakness is compassion for the fallen. In Jesus God becomes flesh! The infinite clothes Himself with the finite! How can the mind comprehend such thing? The creator becomes creature. The Holy tabernacles with sinners! Who can fathom the mind of God? The righteous is condemned and the murderer is set free! The Lamb of God spills His blood as the wolves stripe His flesh! Humanity rebels! God is faithful! Men sin. God dies. Here He is . . . doing the work of Him who sent Him; suffering for sinners, atoning for sin, redeeming a broken creation. The shame of the cross is borne by the Lord of Glory. The darkness of death envelops the light of the world. Everything is turned upside down and topsy turvey. That which no man would esteem, Jesus has embraced. Embracing sin and death, He dies. Dying He is buried. Yet, even death is reversed by this Nazarene. The Song of Resurrection pours over creation. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Risen for the sick, the blind, the sinner, risen for you.

B’. The Folly of Siloam (which means Sent)

This is the folly of our God even as He sends a blind man to Siloam with mud on His eyes. In this way are we Christians viewed by the world. They see us as blind and foolish souls wandering about the landscape, seeking after a pool of Hope. However, beloved, the folly of Siloam is that Jesus has connected His word of promise to water and when He connects His Word to an element there is certainty of receiving what we need. Following the Savior’s admonition we are sent to the font. Blind we may be, but the heart follows what the ear hears. To the font we go and in the font we find the Sent One Himself. There in the Water of our Baptism the topsy turvey world is crucified to us and us to the world. Stirring the pool is the Holy Spirit delivering us from the iniquities of our sin. How can water do such great things? Certainly not just water, but water and the Word! Water and the Promise of Christ! Such was the case with this blind man! So it is with us! The Lord again makes use of the world’s folly to put the wise to shame. He makes use of the common to work the holy. Under these waters sin, committed and inherited, is forgiven. That’s why we bring children, even infants to baptism. They too have sin, though they may or may not have committed sin. With sins forgiven eyes are opened & the light of God’s salvation fills our whole being. This is all gift! This is all by Grace! This is all received by Faith. For Jesus is for sinners. He is for you. It’s scandalous! It’s outrageous! It’s amazingly unreasonable! It’s wonderfully silly! It’s lovingly gracious! Such is the Work of the one who sent Him!

A’. Jesus comes for You

Beloved in the Lord, if you can see the speck in your brother’s eye, odds are . . . you really can’t see past the log in your own. Your eyes may be working but you are blind to Christ. Repent! Let go of the stones in your hand and allow the light of God’s word to shine on you. Don’t let Him slip by you. Jesus comes for sinners. He’s come for you. He comes to love you with the light of His gospel. For blessed are the blind who have had their eyes opened by Jesus. Blessed are you who see the face of Christ by faith! AMEN!

The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!

I'm not even going to try to add any of my own comments here.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, Jesus comes for sinners simply because Jesus is the Friend of sinners.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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