You have heard the question, “What would Jesus do?” But let us turn the tables and ask, “What would I do?” If I had been in the place of Christ, what would I do differently?
In our Gospel, Christ healed two blind men. He opened their eyes and immediately warned them, sternly no less, “Let no one know about the miracle.” But they went out and spread the news about Him in the whole land.
What if I was Christ in that situation, knowing that these men were about to blab all over what I told them not to say? Maybe I would have made them mute. That way, the whole problem would be eliminated.
That would not be the right approach. Good thing I am not the Lord. Instead, Christ was patient with the weakness of the blind men.
This sort of thing happened over and over. Christ warned people, but they would do it anyway.
How could Christ be so patient? Because He is the long-suffering mercy of God in human flesh. He does not quickly judge and cast us away. He gives us a chance, and we fail. We might try very hard, but we cannot overcome something. Still Christ is patient. After all, He shed His precious Blood even for these sins. The price is paid. So He is patient.
Why are we not patient? Our brothers and sisters in Christ may annoy or grate on our nerves. They may outright sin, and we think, “How could they do that?” Of course, we conveniently forget that we are constantly doing all kinds of sins, a huge pile of them of which we are not even aware. We should be patient with our fellow sinners. But even in this, we sometimes fail.
The Pharisees even accused our dear Lord Christ of being in league with satan. How could Christ be patient with that? Why not say, “You think I am with the devil? I’ll go send you to meet him right now,” and thunder, lightning, the earth opens up, and the Jewish leaders sink down to Hades.
A part of us thinks, “That would be great!” - conveniently forgetting that we have entertained blasphemous thoughts, if only unawares, in the darkest corner of our sin-filled hearts.
But we want justice! We want the bad guys to get their due. Boy, do we have a list of bad guys out there! There are many that we could point out to Christ and say, “Hey, what about that guy? Why are you patient with him?”
The desire for justice is good. The problem is that our sinful mind always thinks that we are innocent and those other people are begging for a smiting. But we are ripe for one as well.
What does Christ do? He comes in the flesh and is patient. Oh, there will be justice in the end. On the last Day, the wicked will receive their wages. But when He walked in Galilee, He healed diseases. He opened blind eyes and mute lips and cast out demons.
Were all those people deserving of healing? No. None of them were deserving, just as we are not deserving of the least gift from our Lord. Still He healed and preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Today He does not heal miraculously, at least not in the obvious way He did in Galilee. But He still preaches the Good News through His called servants whom He sent out as workers into the harvest. He also heals through servants called doctors, nurses, parents, and so forth.
He heals and preaches to all people. He does not wait for the good and reject the bad. He does that because of His enormous compassion. He has a deep, visceral pity and mercy toward us. He sees us as sheep who are harassed and downcast.
Often we do not see ourselves as weary and helpless. We usually feel that our life is under control, even though things can be bad occasionally.
In 2020 it is easier to see that we are harassed sheep. There is a disease that is potentially deadly. There have been fires, unemployment, riots, increased depression, substance abuse, and suicide. The world appears to be out of control.
When we have clarity to see things as they are, we see that we are helpless sheep harassed by a savage wolf, satan. That wolf is the cause of all kinds of illnesses, either directly or indirectly. All kinds of evil and death come from him. Many people are his servants even if he is not obviously possessing them.
In all this, we are powerless.
But for us has come the Good Shepherd. When we feel harassed and downcast, we should remember that we are not sheep without a shepherd. We are under His care, even if it does not feel that way to us.
He tends to the illnesses of His sheep. He opens mute lips and blind eyes. Chiefly He does this by His death and resurrection. The cause of all sickness is that all have sinned and deserve the wages of sin, which is death. It is not necessarily that you deserve a particular disease because of a specific sin you committed. But because of Adam’s sin, sickness and death entered the world. We all fall under sin’s curse.
But Christ the Healer has created the greatest Medicine ever by laying down His Body into death on the Cross. He conquered sin and the sting of death by shedding holy, innocent Blood. This same Body and Blood are on this altar tonight. Even apart from the Sacrament, we receive the benefits of Christ’s death every time He speaks the Gospel of the Kingdom to us.
To show us the result of the medicine, He shows us His resurrection. That is what all His miraculous healings point to. It is as if He said, “I heal people to show that I am rolling back the effects of sin and death. I am conquering satan and death for you. To show that it is so, I rise again the third day, so that you can see that resurrection awaits you. Eternal life is yours in the new heaven and new earth, without any sickness or death. No more harassment from the evil wolf. No more being downcast because life is too much for you. No, life will be all good and all perfect, because I am making it so.”
The Spirit help us trust in the promise of Christ. Amen.
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