March 26, 2009 - Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 45:1-20,24-28; St. Mark 13:1-23

Who has redeemed me a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and the power of the devil; not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” (Explanation of the Second Article, Apostle’s Creed)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Jesus bought you and won you. And you needed it! You needed to be purchased back from the devil. You needed redemption from the evil you have done. You had to be won back from the wrath of God that you deserve for your sins. You desperately needed it, and Jesus did it for you.

But you think otherwise, don’t you? You secretly believe that God’s not actually going to do anything bad to you. He wouldn’t. You! There’s just something too lovable inside of you. Something that makes God smile when He thinks of you. Something that is going to keep you from eternity in hell. Is that what you really think?

Hell is full of people with just those kinds of thoughts. Hell is full of people who believed that God was not going to punish them for what they had done--if there is such a vengeful God in the first place. Repent! Fast from such talk, not just during Lent, but for all eternity.

This Lenten season, behold the place where you can see that you need to be saved by God: Look at Jesus, hanging dead on the Cross! Watch Him winning salvation for you--not by buying you back with gold or silver, but with His own suffering and death in your place.

Your disobedience to God did this! Your self-righteousness is the cause of His suffering. You doing your own thing is the reason for the nails in His hands and feet. If you could save yourself, why does He need to die on the Cross?

And at the same time you can’t get any more joy than from what Jesus did for you--the beatings, the floggings, the thorns, the mockings. What He does saves you from all that you have ever done!

Then comes the greatest miracle: God wants nothing from you in return for the death of His Son. Thankfully, He doesn’t need your response. He doesn’t need you to accept Him or sign on to His team. Jesus’ death proclaims to you that God Himself is for you! It’s not by what you do--what you do messes everything up! No, it’s all by grace so that it might be received by faith! And faith not in yourself, but only in Jesus who died and rose for you.

So thank and praise Him. Say back to Him what He has done. Serve Him by serving others. Not just today and tomorrow, but each day for all eternity. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.