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Fourth Sunday in Lent

Our devotional reading for the Fourth Sunday in Lent comes from a sermon in Concordia Pulpit Resources.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 42:14–21
Psalm 142
Ephesians 5:8–14
John 9:1–41

Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.

Introduction

When the blind man in John 9:1–41 was healed by Jesus, he did not know how Jesus healed him with mere mud and water, but he knew who had healed him. So also, we may not always understand the ways and works of God, but we know that through the Word and Sacraments, we receive the promised gifts of salvation and eternal life in Jesus.

Devotional Reading

Jesus healed a man who had been born blind, and he did it on the Sabbath. This alarmed the Pharisees, who sprang into action and launched an investigation. They interrogated the man who had been healed. Their big question was “How?” How did he get his sight back?

“How?” is usually the focus when people have doubts about God. We don’t ask “Who?” We want to know “How?” . . . 

God does not meet man in a how but in a who: in the person who is God and man, Jesus Christ. He is Jacob’s Ladder, the one who joins the open heaven with undeserving sinners on earth. “You will see heaven opened,” Jesus had declared, “and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn 1:51). . . .

In the text, Jesus used spit (from his mouth, the organ of speech) and mud and water when he healed the blind man. To this day, the Word and Sacraments do not speak so much to our questions about “how” as they show what the great “who,” our Creator and Redeemer, can do with the “how” materials of this world. He uses ordinary water, combined with his Word, to give you new birth by his Spirit. Similarly, by his Words of Institution, common bread and wine convey to you the body and blood that the now-risen Christ once gave and shed for you.

Don’t lose your grasp on him, the grasp of faith. Be like the blind man in the text. He had only a vague idea as to the how of his healing, but a very firm sense about who had healed him. At the end of the text, Jesus came to him to make sure the man knew who the “who” really is. Jesus comes to us through his reconciling Word and Sacraments so we know and believe in him too.

We don’t know all the “hows,” but by God’s grace we know the who.

Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 24, Part 2, Series A, page 56–58 © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Hymn is “The God of Abraham Praise,” hymn 798 from Lutheran Service Book. Video © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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