Quinquagesima Sunday
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
February 10, 2013
Central Passage
Luke 18:31-43


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.


It is easier to watch a movie about zombies eating brains than a movie about a real serial killer like Jack the Ripper or Jeffrey Daumer. That’s because we can disassociate from the zombies because they look like monsters and we know they aren’t real. But Jack the Ripper and Jeffrey Daumer, they are real and they look just like the guy next door. Real monsters don’t look like monsters. They’re not grotesque and deformed, slimy and distorted creatures with unnatural postures and gaits. Real monsters look like the guy next door. Real monsters look like the person staring back at us in the mirror.
Appearances can be deceiving. Samuel thought that David’s seven brothers were fit to be king of Israel based on their appearance. But God looks at the inside. So it might be tempting to think that there was something in David that God favored and that’s why He chose David, whom the Bible says was a man after God’s own heart. But David wasn’t chosen because of some character trait. He was chosen because that’s who God wanted. David was a monster, too; sleeping with another man’s wife, and then trying to cover it up by murdering Uriah her husband. We know that David didn’t have some favorable character trait that caused God to choose him because immediately after saying that God looks at the inside of a man, it says that David was handsome and easy on the eyes. He was just like all the rest. The only difference was that God chose him.
You’re no different than everyone else. You’re no different than Jack the Ripper or Jeffrey Daumer, except in appearances. They put their selves on display for the world to see while most of us try to look like Dr. Jeckel desperate to keep secret our Mr. Hyde.
But we all know the truth. That’s why we don’t trust each other. We ourselves are not trustworthy. How many times have you been caught in a lie or trying to hide or rearrange the truth and then incredulously asked your accuser, “Are calling me a liar?” We are the monsters.
The only difference between you and the other monsters masquerading as those created in God’s image is that you have been chosen to receive the Lord’s blessing and salvation. Just like the blind beggar begging not for money but for mercy. The blind beggar wanted to see. He didn’t want to be left on the side of the road with all the other beggars. He wanted to follow this man called Jesus who healed the sick and cleansed the lepers and raised the dead. He wanted to see Jesus and to follow Him.
You, too, want to see Jesus and to follow Him. You too have heard that the Son of David offers forgiveness to sinners and sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Not so that they would be successful in this age but that they would live in the age to come. You, too, want to follow Jesus to where He is at His Father’s side. You, too, like the blind beggar, know that as you are in yourself, you cannot follow Him. You must be made different than you are. The monster must be slain and the new man must live. So you, too, like the blind beggar, ask for mercy, “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy!”
And what is it you want the Lord to do for you? Heal you, of course. Take away your sicknesses, your diseases, your loneliness. Even your apathy and anger, your lust and greed; to take away from you your guilt and even your desire to sin. You want Him to give you eyes to see Him and ears to Hear Him that you may follow where He guides.
Be it done for you as you believe. Your faith has made you well! By His blood He has taken away your sin and shame, your guilt of sin. By His flesh He has restored your flesh. By His obedience He leads you in the paths of righteousness. By His eyes you see the Father. By His ears you hear the word and will of God. By His Spirit you are made sons of God, heirs of the kingdom of the Son of David. By His life you live.
You are following Him on the way. Here you see Him give His flesh and blood to you for the forgiveness of your sins. Here you hear Him speak to you, His disciples, “Peace be with you always.” Here you rejoice with the crowd that also sees Him and follows Him and knows Him; that great cloud of witnesses; saints of old and saints today, your brothers and sisters in Christ. They, too, are monsters made human. They, too, are the blind made to see. They, like you, live in Him. And living in Him we love as He loves.
And in His love we see one another as He sees us: redeemed heirs of the kingdom. With eyes of the Spirit you no longer see as man sees – you no longer see monsters trying to live like humans. But because His love is your love, now you see sons and daughters of God. This is how we love one another, by seeing Jesus.
In Nomine Iesu
X Amen X