“In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 29:18-19)





the Third Sunday in Martyrs’ Tide

Sermon Starter

Having focused on the Bread of Life discourse from St. John’s Gospel account, the church now ponders confrontation and conflict between the Pharisees and Jesus. This gospel focuses on the ceremonial nature of hand-washing, which is not easy to understand.

The disciples fail to do the ceremonial washing before they eat. This failure to act in the ways of the Jews and the Pharisees prompts a strong rebuke by the Jewish teachers of the Law. Jesus responds by quoting the Old Testament scriptures, particularly the prophet Isaiah. The topic that is swirling in this account between Jesus and the Pharisees is the question of the heart. This deserves our attention today.

The prophet Isaiah spoke words that would not have been well accepted in our culture today. They weren’t very well accepted in his day, either. But Isaiah highlights a dimension of sin that can take over people and often does. Isaiah says that the eyes of the prophets and teachers have been closed. They entered a spirit of deep sleep. Even in Isaiah’s day the prophets and teachers of the law were unable to understand the Holy Scriptures.