THE 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER AD 2019
TRINITY EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
REV. KURT E. REINHARDT
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis,  and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days.  And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—  on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.
 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,  and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.  They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.  In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 
 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"  The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."  Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk."  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath.
The lame man didn’t know who was asking the question. That, beloved, is clear from his answer. If he had known, he would have known that a simple, “Yes.” would have been enough. But the man doesn’t know who’s asking and so instead of “Yes,” he goes into all the reasons why he can’t be healed.
He didn’t know who was asking him. That should make us stop and think for a moment, because there is some incredible and beautiful things to ponder in this fact. How could he not know? It’s the Son of God after all who is standing before him - the Almighty who made heaven and earth, the Lord God of Israel. The fact that the lame man didn’t know Him, shows us just how completely the Lord humbled Himself for us - hiding His glory and veiling His majesty.
He didn’t know who was asking him. No, he couldn’t know, unless the One who asked chose to reveal Himself to him. This truth should humble you to the very core of your being, beloved, because it reveals just how much the Lord loved you that He came down from heaven and was made man for you. And it should overwhelm you completely that He did it, so that He could be betrayed into the hands of sinful men to be crucified for you.
He didn’t know who was asking him. And that is both an incredible and beautiful thing. It shows us that not only had Christ humbled Himself for us, but that even when the lame man didn’t know Him Christ came to him. The man could not only not come to Jesus because of his useless legs, He couldn’t and so didn’t come to Him because he had no idea that he should come to Him. No, unlike other poor helpless beggars he doesn’t even cry out to Him, “Lord, have mercy on me.”
Unknown. Yes, Jesus was completely unknown to the man, but beautifully what is revealed today is that the man was known to Jesus. The man couldn’t come to Jesus and so Jesus came to Him. There was nothing about Jesus that the man should desire Him but Christ desiring him approached him. There was nothing to open the man’s lips to cry out to Jesus and so Jesus comes and opens His lips to him. And when the man doesn’t give the right answer to the question, Jesus still gives him the answer that he needs.
Unknown. Yes, Jesus was completely unknown to the man, until the Lord, with the deepest compassion and greatest of mercy, makes Himself known with those simple yet glorious words, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” What you need to know, beloved, is that the Lord Jesus seeks this man out today and heals Him before your eyes, so that He might seek you out and reveal Himself to you too. Now, it’s not that most of you don’t know Him already. Most of you I’m pretty sure know Him pretty well.
He did come and find you in the waters of your Baptism after all. He came to you by that pool, just as surely as He came up to the man in the Gospel today. You were just as crippled up by sin as that man was and were unable to come to Him. And you were just as blind in that moment to who He really was, but He picked you up and placed you into that pool to wash away all your sin and heal the brokenness within you, by giving you a new life in Him. In that moment, He showed you that He was the Son of God made man, who suffered and died to be your Saviour.
You couldn’t come or cry out to Him and so He came and spoke to you. You couldn’t know Him but He knew you. And in that moment when He spoke His Word over you, baptizing you in the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, He made Himself known, so that you might know Him as fully and deeply as He knows you. And in that moment you did know Him in the depths of your soul. The trouble though, for poor sinners like you and me, is that we often don’t live in the clarity of the truth of that moment.
Unknown? No, Jesus is not unknown to us, but we often live as though we do not know Him. Like the lame man by the pool we set our eyes on our lame legs, we see the distance to the pool and that we have no one to carry us. In other words we fix our hearts and minds on all of our challenges, and so we fail to give a simple “yes” to Jesus when stands before us in our day to day lives, asking us if we want Him to take care of us. We lose sight of Him and the truth of who He is, and so lack the peace that comes with giving a simple “yes” to Him.
Unknown? No, Jesus is not unknown to us. So then why, beloved, why do we fret and worry about tomorrow and what might happen to us or those that we love when it comes? As He stands before us in His Word showing us who He is and what He has done for us, asking us if we want Him to take care of every moment of every day of our lives, how can we possibly give anything but a simple, “Yes, Lord.” And yet how often the lists run round and round in our hearts and minds of all that could happen or go wrong?
Unknown? No, Jesus is not unknown to us. And yet when it comes to our sins, beloved, why do we allow them to weigh us down and burden us with guilt and shame? Why do we have to go into how awful and terrible they are, and make ourselves suffer for them, when the Lord with wounded hands and feet and side stands before us saying, “Do you want me to take those away from you as far as the east is from the west? Do you want me to cleanse you fully and completely making you holy and beautiful in every way?” How can we give anything but a simple, “Yes, Lord.” to all of that, and yet how often we don’t.
Which brings us back to the truth, that the Lord is at work today through the healing of the lame man and His own precious body and blood laid out on the altar, to draw your eyes away from all your challenges, troubles, fears and sins and fix them fully and completely on Him. “Know me as I know you,” He calls out to each one of you. “See who I am, as I reveal myself to you. I am He, your Lord and Your God, your Saviour who has risen in victory over sin, death and hell for you. I am greater than all that you face. And I am here for you. Look at me, and me alone, and let me open your lips with a simple, “Yes,” to all that I would and will do for you.” Amen.