Sermon Transcript – Opening Our Eye to Understand the Scriptures

1 Year Lectionary – Quinquagesima – Sunday, February 27, 2022 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:27The holy gospel according
0:30to saint luke the 18th chapter taking
0:32the twelve Jesus said to them see we’re
0:35going up to jerusalem and everything
0:37that is written about the son of man
0:39by the prophets will be accomplished he
0:42will be delivered over to the gentiles
0:44and be mocked and shamefully treated and
0:47spit upon and after flogging him they
0:49will kill him and on the third day he
0:51will rise
0:53but they understood none of these things
0:55this saying was hidden from them they
0:56did not grasp what was said and as he
0:59drew near to jericho a blind man was
1:01sitting by the roadside begging and
1:03hearing a crowd going by he inquired
1:05what this meant and they told him Jesus
1:07of nazareth is passing by and he cried
1:09out Jesus son of david have mercy on me
1:13and those who were in front rebuked him
1:15telling him to be silent but he cried
1:17out all the more son of david have mercy
1:19on me and Jesus stopped and commanded
1:22him to be brought to him and when he
1:24came near he asked him what do you want
1:26me to do for you and he said lord let me
1:27recover my sight and Jesus said to him
1:30recover your sight your faith has made
1:32you well and immediately he recovered
1:34his sight and followed him glorifying
1:36god and all the people when they saw it
1:38gave praise to god this is the gospel of
1:41the lord in the name of Jesus
1:45all right our gospel text today uh well
1:48it makes me nervous i know it seems a
1:50little odd you know pastors are nervous
1:52about this gospel text yeah because have
1:54you ever heard of somebody saying you
1:57you have a blind spot you know when we
2:00think about our vehicles right you know
2:02all of our vehicles every one of them
2:03has a blind spot but it’s really
2:06annoying when other people can readily
2:10something in us that we have a very
2:13difficult time seeing within ourselves
2:16in fact if you were to think of it this
2:18way sin itself results in
2:21blindness true
2:24blindness and this is a this is not a
2:27small thing it’s not a trivial thing
2:30always amazes me that the gospel of john
2:32begins with these wonderful words about
2:34how the light was coming into the
2:36darkness was coming into the world and
2:38those whom god created didn’t even
2:41recognize him if Jesus were walking down
2:44the street today
2:46how many of us would go oh that’s Jesus
2:49right you see that’s kind of the point
2:51and here are the frightening words i
2:53want you to think about this but we’re
2:54going to take away the the fear here in
2:56a little bit but let’s kind of work our
2:58way through this because this touches on
3:01well the blindness of sin that’s in me
3:03the blindness of sin that is in you that
3:05Jesus says and he asked his disciples
3:07and at several times do you have eyes
3:09but do not see do you have ears
3:11but do not hear and that’s really kind
3:13of the point of this text as we get
3:15ready to go into the lenten season so
3:17taking the 12 Jesus said to them see
3:19we’re going to jerusalem note here Jesus
3:22isn’t talking allegorically he doesn’t
3:24say the kingdom of god is like me going
3:26to jerusalem you know he’s just kind of
3:29walking through and ticking off things
3:31but watch how he does it
3:33we’re going to go to jerusalem
3:35and here’s the important words
3:37everything that is written about the son
3:40of man by the prophets
3:43be accomplished and the list that
3:45follows you can find biblical text in
3:48the old testament
3:50that bear this out
3:52talking about himself Jesus says he will
3:54be delivered over to the gentiles
3:56right mocked
3:59shamefully treated spit on yeah there’s
4:02old testament texts to talk about that
4:04and after flogging him they’ll kill him
4:05but on the third day he’ll rise
4:08and so Jesus walks through these things
4:10and he says all these things are written
4:12about him
4:13in the prophets you know from moses to
4:16malachi you’ll find texts prophecies
4:19telling about Jesus’s death burial
4:22resurrection suffering his shameful
4:24treatment why by the way did he do all
4:26of that to suffer in our place to
4:29reconcile us to god
4:31you know i we live in a world right now
4:34where uh we’re all kind of on edge
4:36watching as events are unfolding in the
4:39ukraine with the invasion
4:41of the ukraine by russia
4:44reconciliation and peace are something
4:46that’s on our mind because it seems to
4:48be missing at the moment in our world
4:50right but note then the hostilities
4:52between russia and the ukraine are
4:54nothing and i mean this nothing compared
4:57to hostility between you and god as a
4:59result of your fall into sin and mine
5:02and Christ has well
5:04done the the unbelievable the unexpected
5:08he has made peace with god for us by all
5:12these things that he said were written
5:14about him
5:15in the old testament prophets
5:17but here’s the text it says
5:20they understood none of these things
5:23none of them
5:24this saying was hidden from them they
5:26didn’t grasp what he said
5:28but what Jesus said was actually quite
5:31straightforward it’d be like me saying
5:33all right after the alethia service i’m
5:35going to head over to the grocery store
5:37i’m going to buy some bananas and i’m
5:38going to take my truck and i’m going to
5:39fill it up with diesel and then i’m
5:41going to come home and go to bed you’d
5:43all know exactly what i was talking
5:45about that’s how plainly Jesus was
5:48but they understood
5:51none of it and here’s where we have to
5:53understand something
5:56god acts in judgment and makes it so we
5:58cannot understand the scriptures
6:01that’s a terrifying act of judgment it
6:03means that we can grope all we want but
6:05we’re never going to find him in fact
6:07god is the one who has to open our eyes
6:10god is the one who has to open our ears
6:12and that’s kind of the point
6:14if you remember
6:15it was not that long ago i preached on
6:18mark’s version of the story of blind
6:20bartimaeus and i called that sermon the
6:23blind man who could see and that’s
6:25really kind of the point juxtaposed to
6:28this text here where the disciples they
6:30hear Jesus speaking plainly and none of
6:33these things are registering there you
6:35got blind bartimaeus a man who can’t see
6:39but man he could hear and in hearing he
6:42heard from the biblical text the old
6:44testament about the messiah and putting
6:47two and two together even though he’d
6:49never seen Jesus
6:51never heard him he knew exactly who he
6:54was how
6:55from the bible from the old testament
6:58and so there’s blind bartimaeus crying
7:00out Jesus son of david have mercy on me
7:04what a great prayer what great theology
7:07where’d he get it from the bible
7:10okay you know right you know and so this
7:13is where we we consider them the
7:15consequences of sin
7:17terrifying text number two if you would
7:20if you think about genesis chapter 19
7:22and the two angels that were sent to
7:25sodom and gomorrah they ended up in uh
7:27nephew lot’s house and abram’s nephew a
7:29lot they ended up in his house and the
7:31men of the city came out and they let’s
7:34just say that they wanted to i’ll put it
7:36politely wanted to rough up the two
7:38angels that were staying with lot it was
7:40far worse than that by the way and here
7:43they are they’ve they’ve gathered at at
7:45the door of lot and lot is saying
7:48don’t do this don’t do this right
7:51but they they they re they reacted
7:53terribly and they say this this fellow
7:55he came to sojourn among us and now he’s
7:57become our judge we’re going to deal
7:58worse with you they said a lot than we
8:01are with them so then they pressed hard
8:03against lot they drew near in order to
8:05break the door down it says
8:08but the men reached out their hands and
8:10brought lot into the house and they shut
8:12the door
8:13and then they struck with blindness the
8:14men who were at the entrance of the
8:16house both small and great so they wore
8:18themselves out groping for the door have
8:21you ever read that account and thought
8:22to yourselves
8:24how is it
8:25that a group of men
8:27couldn’t find a door that was five feet
8:30in front of them
8:34it doesn’t sound possible right
8:36but listen that’s how this works when
8:39god acts in judgment like this and
8:42blinds people
8:44he blinds them for real so the thing
8:46that they’re looking for they’ll never
8:48and so it’s with that that we humbly
8:51must come to grips with a few things
8:54number one when peter makes that great
8:56confession of faith Jesus says who do
8:58people say that i am and peter says
9:00you’re the Christ the son of the living
9:01god listen to Jesus’s response he says
9:04blessed are you simon bar jonah because
9:05flesh and blood hasn’t revealed that to
9:08but my father who is in heaven
9:11when we understand the scriptures that
9:14is an act of mercy on the part of god
9:18and you’ll note that god intends for us
9:20to hear his word
9:22to meditate on it to consider our own
9:25sin to call out to him and ask him for
9:27mercy and forgiveness and pray to god
9:29the holy spirit that he would give us
9:32even more understanding and that he
9:34would continue to open our eyes more and
9:37to our own sin
9:39and to the greatness and mercy of god
9:41and to the realization that what the
9:44scriptures are about Christ in that
9:47regard then consider you know what is
9:51in the gospel of luke in the gospel of
9:53luke uh you know at the day of the
9:55resurrection chapter 24 we got these
9:58words that very day two of
10:00the followers of Jesus were going to a
10:02village named emmaus seven miles from
10:06that’s a pretty good walk you figure i
10:08could probably walk about five and a
10:09half i can walk five miles in about an
10:11hour and a half right
10:13so you know tack on another
10:15you know let’s see 20 40 minutes so this
10:18is a good three three hour 15 you know
10:20three hour three and a half hour walk
10:22right that’s pretty good walk and so
10:25while they were talking together Jesus
10:27himself drew near
10:29and he went with them but their eyes
10:30were kept from recognizing him here we
10:32go again
10:33the greek text here by the way says
10:35their eyes were held it’s like you know
10:37Jesus took their eyes and said nope
10:39you’re not going to know who i am that’s
10:40how god operates and so he said to them
10:42all right what’s this conversation
10:43you’re holding with each other as you
10:45what’s what is that
10:47so they stood still
10:49looking sad and then one of them named
10:51cleopas answered him are you the only
10:54visitor to jerusalem who doesn’t know
10:55the things that have happened here in
10:57these days
10:58and Jesus said to them what things you
11:02he doesn’t need to know he experienced
11:04them all firsthand right but he’s going
11:06to help them out and note that Jesus
11:08wants you to know the scriptures too so
11:10they said to him well concerning Jesus
11:12of nazareth a man who was a prophet
11:15mighty indeed and word before god and
11:17all the people and how our chief priests
11:19and rulers delivered him up to be
11:20condemned unto death and they crucified
11:23but we had hope that he was the one to
11:26redeem israel
11:29let that sentence kind of roll around in
11:31your head for a second here say what
11:34you’re you you just said Jesus was
11:37crucified and you had hoped he was the
11:40one to redeem israel
11:42what do you think he was doing on the
11:43cross right okay so you’re going to note
11:46here they haven’t understood the
11:48scriptures yet either right and this is
11:51going to take a divine act of mercy on
11:54the part of Christ to work this out
11:57the text continues so we had hoped that
12:00he was the one to redeem israel and yes
12:02besides all this it is now the third day
12:04since these things happened moreover
12:07some of the women of our company amazed
12:09us they were at the tomb early this
12:10morning and when they did not find his
12:13body they came back saying that they had
12:15even seen a vision of angels who said
12:17that he was alive some of those who were
12:20with us went to the tomb and they found
12:22it just as the women had said but him
12:25they did not see now wait a second here
12:27let me go back to our gospel text
12:30Jesus said
12:32everything written about the son of man
12:34by the prophets will be accomplished
12:36he’s going to be delivered over to the
12:39mocked shamefully treated spit on
12:41flogged killed die on the third day
12:44he’ll rise
12:46that’s all in the old testament okay so
12:49hear these guys on the road to me it’s
12:50the day of the resurrection
12:52are ticking off the exact same litany of
12:55things that Jesus said before he went to
12:57the cross would happen and said it was
12:59all in the bible
13:01so what do you think Jesus’s response is
13:03going to be and listen to it carefully
13:08foolish ones slow of heart to believe
13:11all that the prophets have spoken right
13:14you guys failed bible 101 were you
13:17doodling during sabbath school what’s
13:19going on here right so was it not
13:21necessary that the Christ should suffer
13:23these things and then enter into his
13:27and then beginning with moses and all
13:29the prophets he interpreted them all the
13:33the things concerning
13:37huh so Christ in our gospel text says
13:40all the things written about him must be
13:42fulfilled on the day of the resurrection
13:44they’d all been fulfilled
13:45right and Jesus still has to kind of
13:48walk people through and so the the rest
13:50of the story is always fascinating so
13:52they drew near to the village to which
13:53they were going he acted as if he were
13:55going farther but they urged him strong
13:57stay with us it’s toward evening the day
13:59is now far spent so we went in to stay
14:00with them and when he had it was that
14:03table with them he took the bread
14:04blessed it and broke it what does that
14:06sound like gave it to them and then
14:08their eyes were open and they recognized
14:10him and bush he vanished
14:12from their sight i added the bush part
14:14by the way that’s really not in the
14:16greek text the bush bit but you get the
14:18idea right
14:19and so
14:20what’s interesting is is that the gospel
14:22of luke itself
14:24ends with some very interesting words
14:27these are not the very last words of the
14:29gospel luke but right near the vat last
14:32part of the last chapter and here’s what
14:35Jesus it says
14:37Jesus said to them these are my words
14:39that i spoke to you while i was still
14:41with you
14:42that everything written about me in the
14:46law of moses and the prophets and the
14:52he had appeared to them it’s the
14:54resurrection and he said listen these
14:56are the words i told you about and then
14:58watch what happens remember because it
15:00said in our gospel text all these things
15:03they didn’t understand it the
15:04understanding was kept from them
15:06then he opened their minds
15:08in order to understand the scriptures
15:11and he said to them thus it is written
15:13that the Christ should suffer and on the
15:14third day rise from the dead and that
15:16repentance for the forgiveness of sin
15:18should be proclaimed in his name to all
15:20nations beginning
15:21from jerusalem ah you see here’s the
15:24solution Jesus opened their minds now
15:28this calls for us to be humble and to
15:31note this then the same people who
15:34Christ opened their minds to understand
15:36the scriptures are the ones who wrote
15:37the balance of the scriptures then they
15:39wrote for us the new testament
15:42and we then note then that in order to
15:44understand god’s word we must be given
15:48understanding by god and that comes by
15:53crying out to god asking him for
15:56and putting away our ego as if we know
15:59how the bible should be understood
16:01because many of us really don’t in fact
16:03i can probably say to a person here at
16:05alethia we we’ve all believed that the
16:07bible was about us at one point or
16:09another we wanted to go and slay our
16:10goliaths and all that kind of nonsense
16:12right have you parted your red sea this
16:14week by the way i can’t even part my
16:16hair right anymore but let alone part my
16:18red sea and
16:20when you’re thinking this way the
16:21scriptures are locked up
16:23so what does this call for
16:25repentance this calls for humbling
16:27ourselves it calls for us calling out to
16:30god and saying lord
16:32help me to understand your word
16:35help me through your holy spirit to see
16:37Christ in these texts because Christ
16:39taught us that these are about him and
16:42to see the great things that Christ has
16:44done for us and you’re going to note the
16:46things that Christ were pointing to that
16:49he says that the law and the prophets
16:51and the psalms were all written about
16:52were what
16:54his death
16:55his suffering his burial his crucifixion
16:59if you were to think of it this way
17:00we’re all very familiar with our epistle
17:03text from first corinthians 13 because
17:05why every newly wed couple every couple
17:08that’s having a wedding they always want
17:09this recited at their wedding right
17:11but have you ever stopped to think for a
17:14that if we just apply what Jesus said
17:18work with me here work with me here
17:20Jesus said all the things written about
17:22me and moses and the prophets and he
17:24opened up the uh the minds of his
17:27disciples so that they could understand
17:28the scriptures and everything is about
17:32you see here’s the thing
17:34we live in a world where there is a
17:36supreme lack
17:38of love
17:39of love towards god love towards
17:42neighbor and if you’re not sure what i’m
17:43talking about just think ukraine for a
17:45second and ask yourself is putin showing
17:48love to the ukrainians right now right i
17:51don’t consider mass murder to be love i
17:53consider it to be something different
17:55but none of us are better than putin i’m
17:57not you are not we’re all just as guilty
17:59as he is right
18:01and so me sitting there scolding you and
18:03saying you don’t love enough and i don’t
18:05love enough and putin doesn’t love
18:06enough ain’t gonna do nothing right this
18:08just throws us back but if we remember
18:11all the things written about Christ that
18:13he must suffer
18:15buried die
18:16rise again on the third day
18:19why is that
18:20you know why he didn’t
18:22because god
18:24so loved the world
18:25he loves you
18:27he loves me in fact when i see this list
18:30here about love love is patient and kind
18:34i’ve said it before and i’ll say it
18:35again it amazes me
18:37that i can replace the word love with
18:39Jesus and it still
18:42works perfectly
18:44you see
18:46where we have fallen short and we are
18:49blinded by our own sin where we live in
18:51darkness and love the darkness and hate
18:53the light Christ is very different than
18:55that he’s not satisfied to let us go off
18:58to hell as we deserve
19:00and to experience god’s wrath for an
19:02eternity in fact
19:04let me say it this way Jesus is patient
19:07and he’s kind
19:09Jesus does not envy or boast and he is
19:11not arrogant or rude
19:13he doesn’t insist on his own way
19:17he’s not irritable or resentful
19:20he does not rejoice at wrongdoing he
19:21rejoices with the truth Jesus bears all
19:24things and Jesus hopes all things
19:27and he has endured the cross
19:30for you
19:31and for me
19:33and so as we get ready to approach lent
19:36don’t think for a second that there’s
19:38nothing you need to repent of in fact
19:40you may be completely blind to it
19:42and don’t think that you perfectly
19:43understand the scriptures because i
19:45don’t do that either
19:47but let us then see these texts and
19:50understand that unless Christ opens our
19:52minds so that we can understand them
19:55that we never will
19:56so let us pray in the midst of the
19:58darkness that Christ the light of Christ
20:01shines and let us humbly ask Jesus to
20:04open up his word to us the word that
20:06tell us about the great things that he
20:08has done in order to save us and the
20:10great love of a god who has sent his son
20:14to be
20:15so that you know he would die
20:17so that we who are enemies of god
20:20could be reconciled to him
20:24and spend eternity
20:26with him in a world without end all as a
20:29gift by grace through faith because
20:35is love
20:37in the name of Jesus amen
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