Broad Cove, Crousetown, February 18, AD 2007
13:1-13 Luke 18:31-43
Behold, we go
up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets
concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.
Today is the
third Sunday in PreLent. We’ve been encourage to no longer stand
idle in the marketplace but to enter into the labour of looking at
our souls. We’ve been called upon to attend to the soil, the ground
that is our soul, and to the seeding of it with God’s word that it
may bring forth fruit an hundredfold. And this morning we
are being called by Jesus to go up with Him to Jerusalem, to witness
once again His passion and death, that we might know His
we will enter into the season of Lent, beginning with the imposition
But why Lent
again! Why go up to Jerusalem again? We know the story well, don’t
we? We represent that passion and death each year, and each Sunday
in the Holy Communion. Why does the Church call on us to fix our
minds here, year after year, Sunday after Sunday?
For he shall
be delivered to the Gentiles, he shall be mocked, and spitefully
entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him
to death; and the third day he shall rise again. And they
understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them,
neither knew they the things which were spoken.
account repeats three times the ignorance of the disciples to Jesus’
warning about what is coming. And yet this is not the first time
they have been warned by Jesus about His passion and death. Luke
recalls three other times in his Gospel where the disciples had been
told plainly that this must take place.
disciples, who left family, left jobs, left their homes, to follow
Jesus with apparently all their hearts all over Israel for three
years – that’s a pretty strong commitment of faith, that’s a pretty
strong attachment to the Messiah. Do we have that commitment of
faith? Yet they don’t get it. They were blind.
It is easier for
us to grasp the necessity of the Cross, living two thousand years
after the event, having grown up with it in our minds and hearts.
It is the sign to identify the Christian faith – but it was
yet unknown to the disciples. On the cross we have put before our
minds the charity of God, the divine love, manifested in its most
purposes in exposing our hatred and revealing His love on the Cross
is to break down all barriers that remain in us to responding to His
charity with charity.
We can look to
our Epistle reading today as a kind of test to see if there remain
any barriers in our hearts to the love of God shining through us
back to our Maker and to our neighbour.
suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth
not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
But instead of
this, do we not find that often we are unable to be patient in
suffering, or to be kind; that we envy our neighbour’s goodness
rather than celebrate when they succeed far beyond us; that we vaunt
ourselves, puff ourselves up in our own minds; behave unseemly and
wonder why later we did or said what we did; do we not often seek
our own rather than the good of others; are we not all too easily
provoked, thinking evil of others, glad when we see iniquity,
rejoice in lies; do we not find that we cannot bear much, don’t
believe very much, have very limited hopes and expectations, and
find our endurance to be lacking?
If our hearts
were filled, if we allowed our hearts to be filled by divine
charity, these things would no longer happen to us or in us. We
love in part.
who had left all to follow Jesus, who had heard the Sermon on the
Mount, the Sermon on the Plain, heard the call to love God and love
our neighbours, and had seen Jesus showing that love for the
multitudes in ways beyond number – still needed their hearts
radically changed by something more.
Imagine a blind
man, crying out to our Lord in our midst, Jesus, thou Son of
David, have mercy on me. Can you imagine these same loyal
disciples of Jesus, rather than making a way for the blind man to
come to Jesus, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace.
Their hearts needed a stronger medicine than words could heal. And
our hearts need a stronger medicine too.
between us and God and our fuller love of our neighbour. This is
why we go up to Jerusalem again this Lent.
We have recently
gone through our Annual Meetings. We all share a common concern
about the health of our churches – we’d all like to see growth in
our numbers, and this is a godly desire – that others might share in
the joy we know in worshipping and serving God. We begin to wonder
if there is some sort of way we can re-jig things, some practical
ways we can change the way we do things to help us to grow in
numbers. How our minister spends his time, what combination of
services, what sort of outreach, concerts, times, places, signs?
And no doubt there are some practical things we can do to be more
But here is an
absolutely sure way that we can grow as a church – maybe not in
numbers, not right away – but grow in the depth of our own knowledge
and of our love of God. It is, if we attend to our own souls this
Lent. Some form of giving up – of fasting, of some worldly
pleasures – and some replacement of that earthly consolation with a
spiritual feast – increased attention to prayer, to the reading of
the Bible, attending a Home Study Group to learn about and be drawn
more into the Kingdom of Heaven. We can also consider some form of
service, some act of love – attention to visiting, or some community
service. Any of these things carried out in faith will result in
the growth of our churches – the key will be that it is not someone
else that will do it, the Minister or the Diocese, but each one of
For now we
see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in
part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
stood, and commanded
[the blind man]
to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said,
Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive
thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received
his sight, and followed him, glorifying God.
The blind man
followed Jesus, and where did Jesus lead him? to Jerusalem where
all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of
Man shall be accomplished.
was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his
stripes we are healed.
will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;
and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall
teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother,
saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of
them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive
their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Ye shall be clean: from all your
filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new
heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will
give you an heart of flesh.
These are the
things written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man
that shall be accomplished in us if we go up to Jerusalem