TEXT:  Mark 14:55-64           
THEME:  The blindness of unbelief is enraged at the person of
Christ, but the gift of faith rejoices in Him.
TITLE:  "From Blindness to Clarity"  

Selected Text
Lenten Worship # 6
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
March 24, 1999

INTRODUCTION

 

(Throughout these Lenten weeks we have seen the angels of God held in check by the will of God.  To do the will of our heavenly Father is their fondest goal and greatest hope.  So when we see the Christ suffer the humiliation of human existence, the angels hold still.  When they behold the Promised One being attacked by hypocritical Pharisees and teachers of the Law, they do not move to intervene.  As they behold in solemn wonder the betrayal of even His closest earthly companions, they hold still.  Even as He is unjustly tried before the high council of the Sanhedrin, who is supposed to administer justice under the wisdom of God, they do not act.  As He is beaten, spat upon, flogged, stripped and paraded, unjustly condemned to death, there is no angelic action taken.  Now, as the nails are pounded into the divine flesh, and the weight of the body of Christ slowly and agonizingly brings death, the silence of the angels is deafening.

 

  1. IMAGINE THE ANGELIC SELF-RESTRAINT AS THE EVENTS OF OUR TEXT UNFOLD.

    1. By the standards of procedure which governed the Sanhedrin, the trial of Jesus was a complete miscarriage of justice.

      1. It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet on the eve of the Sabbath Day.

      2. It was illegal for them to meet at night as it was only proper to meet during the day between the morning sacrifice and the evening sacrifice.

      3. It was illegal for the Council to gather with a predetermined end in mind.

      4. It was illegal for the accused not to have a spokesman to speak on his behalf.

      5. It was illegal to use the testimony of witnesses that contradicted each other.

      6. It was illegal for the Council not to meet in the Temple courts, but they met at the palace of the high priest Caiaphas.

      7. Finally, it was illegal to find someone guilty of blaspheme if what they claimed were actually true.

    2. Yes, the restraint of the angelic host was impressive indeed in the face of such open injustice.

      1. Their silence must have been eased by the knowledge that God, in Christ, was permitting what they were viewing to occur for His own good purposes.

        1. The mission of Christ was to save mankind from their sins, and the angels knew it.

        2. The mission of the angels was to do as God had commanded, and He had not summoned them.

      2. It could not have been easy, however, to see their Lord of glory spat upon, blindfolded, pummeled with fists, and beaten by the palace guard.

    3. What may be learned from this sad chapter of juris prudence?  That unbelief is truly blind and cannot see the truth.

      1. St. Paul makes it plain to all who will listen.  (I Cor. 2:14)

      2. Listen to the words that describe unbelief:

        1. II Cor. 4:3-4 (Blind)

        2. Eph. 2:1, 4-5 (Dead)

        3. Rom. 5:10  (Enemies of God)

  2. CHRIST REVEALS THAT THERE WILL BE A DAY WHEN EVEN THE BLINDNESS OF UNBELIEF WILL SEE THE CLARITY OF TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST.

    1. It will be a Day when the angels of the heavenly host will hold their place no longer!

      1. Matthew 25:31

        1. Not merely 72,000 angels will be seen, but "ALL" the angels of God will be present in all their heavenly glory.

        2. They will be seen as they remove from the harvest of souls, the false pretenders to faith and place them with all whose faith is not in Christ Jesus.

      2. On that great and awesome Day, the Christ will also be seen in all His majestic splendor.  (Rev. 1:12-16)

    2. On that great and final Day of this tired old earth's existence, we shall here words of pardon and peace:

      1. Though we have deserved nothing but suffering and death, we shall not receive it for it is Jesus Christ who has already suffered and died.

      2. Though we have merited on hells unimaginable eternity, in Christ we shall receive heavens unimaginable reward.

    3. On that great Day, the blindness of unbelief shall be gone and the clarity of the glory of God shall remain:

      1. We shall see Him as He  truly is.

      2. We shall hear the angels silent no more, singing the praises of God forever and ever.

CONCLUSION

 

Tonight is the time to end the blindness of unbelief and to see now the glory of God in Christ Jesus.  By the power of His Word, see Him anew!  By the grace of Christ, know His forgiveness!  By the mercy of God, see with clarity your great and eternal reward!  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

 

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