Only Blind Fools Do Not Cry For Mercy

Text: Luke 18:31-43

In the name of Jesus: Amen.


Contrary to what you might think, mankind loves living in darkness more than light. This means that mankind likes blindness more than being able to see. And so, contrary to what you might think, mankind feels comfortable being blind. When we are blind, we cannot see, and when we cannot see, we are then able to turn a blind eye to things that bother us. 


But what is even more comfortable than being blind is this: not knowing that you are blind. That is to say, ignorance is bliss. When a person is blind - and they don’t know they are blind – they are comfortable. It is quite calm when a person is able to be blind to their sins and oblivious to the realities of life.  


For example, it is quite comforting to be blind to things such as global cyber threats, currency wars with China, nuclear threats from foreign dictators, worldwide sex-trafficking, and worldwide infectious diseases. It is comfortable being blind to 62 million abortions conducted in the United States since Roe v. Wade. It is comfortable being blind to the breakdown of the family and the attacks upon the institution of marriage. 

It is comfortable being blind to the fact that the porn industry in America has grown to be a $10 billion business – bigger than the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball combined. To tape our eyes shut or to gouge them out is painful, but not nearly as painful as seeing the threats, calamities, and distresses around us in this life under the sun. 


But perhaps the most comfortable thing to turn a blind eye toward is ourselves. Indeed, we do not like to look into the mirror of God’s Law to see the reality of our sinfulness. We like to ignore our selfishness, stupidity, and self-absorption. And so, as previously mentioned, we like being blind – it is easier that way. With blindness, darkness becomes our friend and our reality. 


Now, if we are honest, mankind actually fights to stay blind. For example, we turn the disturbing nightly news off when disasters are reported. We avoid parts of the Bible that make us feel uncomfortable. Churches where the preacher is too blunt, well… the pews are empty. The cry is, 


“Tell me that I am special, give me a trophy, a hug, and pull the covers over my head. Tell me that everything is o.k.! Keep me comfortable in the dark with my eyes closed.”  


This, my friends, is the cry of blindness. The spiritually blind love darkness and love their comfort while believing that everything is going to be all right. They do not see reality nor perceive the Kingdom of God. 


Considering all of this, though, there is a great irony to our reading from the Gospel of Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear about a blind man named Bartimaeus. He is a beggar on the side of the road. Now, even though Bartimaeus was blind physically, he was not blind spiritually. His eyes were wide open! Even though he was along the side of a road in the dust and shadows that day, he was in the light because he was near Jesus. And his mouth? Well, that was open too. He cried out, 


           “Lord, have mercy!”  


You see, Bartimaeus knew that he was not o.k. and that he needed mercy and compassion from Christ.  


You might have noticed that we sing the words of blind Bartimaeus here at St. Paul’s every single week in our church services. It is called the ‘Kyrie.’  And when we sing blind Bartimaeus’ words, we are acknowledging two simple things. First, we are acknowledging that we are beggars in need, just like Bartimaeus. And second, we are crying out for mercy to Jesus, just like Bartimaeus. We cry out for mercy because we know that Jesus is the only one who can help us.  


And so, the point being, you are not blind when you cry out for mercy to Christ. You are actually seeing reality when you know that you are a spiritual beggar in need of Christ’s mercy.  

However, if you think you are not a beggar, if you think you are not in need, and if you think you see clearly, then you are truly blind like the world. You are in darkness. Only blind fools believe they are self-sufficient. Only blind fools are ignorant of just how tiny and powerless they are in this life under the sun. Only blind fools feel like they don’t have to cry out for mercy. Only blind fools ignore the reality of their sin. (Keep in mind that your old Adam loves to make you comfortable in darkness. The old Adam loves to deceive you, making you think you see perfectly with 20/20 vision when in reality you are blind to reality.) 


Dear friends, repent! Open your eyes and see what Bartimeaus saw that day. Like Bartimeaus, you and I are not o.k. by our own reason, strength, or wisdom. We are sinful beggars in need of Christ and His grace. We need mercy and compassion from Christ, which is why each and every week we gather here at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to sing Bartimaeus’ Kyrie.  We are Bartimaeus. Unlike the world that walks around in darkness – thinking that they can see clearly but are really blind – we Christians walk in the light of Christ, knowing that we are always in need of Jesus because we are beggars. This is most certainly true.    


Unfortunately, though, when the beggarly Christian Church cries out, “Lord have mercy,” the rest of the world will often yell back, “Shut up, you weak beggarly fools.” You see, just as blind Bartimaeus was rebuked by those around him, we too may be scrutinized, ridiculed, or mocked for our cry of mercy and compassion. 

The world does everything it can to believe that it is fine in the dark, but the Kyrie comes along and ruins it all. The blind world says, 


“I’m o.k.; we’re o.k. We are comfortable and can do this on our own.”  


The Kyrie says, 


“I’m not o.k.; I am a beggar. I am not comfortable, and I cannot do this on my own. Jesus have mercy on me.”  


When we sing the Kyrie, we are not upholding the world’s darkness. We are not playing to the same tune of the world. We are not stumbling in the world’s silly games played at night.  

And so, regardless of any rebukes that we will receive from the world, the world will not be able to silence your cry for mercy. You and I cannot stop singing the Kyrie; we cannot stop crying for mercy because we know that we are poor miserable sinners in thought, word, and deed. We know that the world is perishing, and we know that the light of Jesus is our only hope in a world stumbling in darkness. You and I will never stop singing the Kyrie because we never stop being a beggar in need of Jesus. The cry of blind Bartimaeus is the cry of the Christian Church. 


Baptized Saints, as you sing the Kyrie, know that it is a cry of faith.  But this cry of faith is not one that leads you to glory, power, and victory by your own might. This faith does not lead you to so-called comfort in the darkness where you close your eyes in blindness and count to 10 for everything to be o.k. No! Faith gives you eyes to see truth. Faith causes you to cry out to Christ for mercy. Faith knows reality – that you and I are nothing more than poor miserable beggars in life who constantly need Jesus. 


And when Jesus hears this cry of faith, He stands still long enough to hear your cry and then answers with His good and gracious will. Know that even though you are a beggar who cries for mercy that your cry is not bothersome to Jesus. The Lord answers your cry in the Divine Service by giving you His Word and Sacraments.


Baptized Saints, you sing the Kyrie because you have faith.  You are not in darkness. Christ opened your eyes of faith when you were baptized out of the darkness and into the light. He opens your eyes of faith again and again and again by His spoken Word. And with your eyes opened, you no longer sit by the side of the road, like an empty-handed beggar, but are ushered to His Holy Supper to receive grace upon grace.  


Recover your sight; your faith has made you well! Take and eat; take and drink. You are baptized. You are forgiven. You are not blind in Christ, nor do you belong to the darkness of the world. 


Behold Christ; live in reality and rest in the comfort of His forgiveness, life, and salvation, not the blindness of the world.  


In the name of Jesus: Amen.

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