Genesis 12: 1-4 March 5, 2023

Psalm 121

Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17

St. John 3: 1-17


“Lifted Up”


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help

come?” Psalm 121:1.


This world is filled with pain, agony, and misery. We walk

each day and it would be accounted as a miracle if we did not

experience at least one kind of displeasure before we rest our



We get assailed by tormenting accusations; many of which

are self-inflicted. We feel pain creep up a part of our body; pain

that chronically is our sure companion. Doubt withers away our

strong foundation and even our faith gets momentarily cast aside

as catastrophize cease us; loss inevitable wrecks what little

foothold we have as we sink into the abyss of misery. Our despair

becomes complete as all hope is lost and nihilism entrances our

already fragile minds.


People sin against us and our enemies takes away

everything little by little: our food, our home, our good name, our

health, and our freedoms. Yet, it is usually our own sin that

destroys us from within as we wrestle with our own moral

dilemmas; not knowing our left from our right.




In such agony, we cry out in pain, our anguish and anger

burst out with a bellowed howl. We may not know to whom we

direct our upward cry, but with tears and frustration we lift up our

eyes to the hills wondering if there is any aid that can possibly be



The heights of the old temples do our eyes rest. The ivory

pillars of our betters and their eyes of vane justice do we seek,

only to see equally empty windows likewise looking upward. All

the works of our hands are vanity. All our attempts at bettering

society are vanity. All our humanly-given aid is vanity, for all are

looking upward and all are crying out in pain. We the world is

suffering under the weight of our own sins, and thus we in unison

cry out how long will this pain last. From where does our help



And though our faith do quiver, as our eyes cast upwardly,

we see above the empty eyes of our betters, and still above them

the eyes of mournful angels, we see the eyes of a kind king

whose crown rests upon His feet. It is not works that looks up, but

it is our faith that looks up to thee, our most beautiful Lord. In our

misery we lift up our eyes, but our flesh has caused our eyes to

look no further than our ivory temples. In our misery we lift up our

eyes, yet our spirits rejoice as the Spirit continues our upward

gaze to meet the Savior’s.

No longer do our aching hearts crumble as we meet the

warm and loving face of our Redeemer. We may shed tears and a

pressure felt in our sinus. We may get a stab of pain in the crown

of our heads as an overwhelming emotion wells up inside of us.




But this tear-felt emotion which meets the love of God springs

forth not out of sadness but a wellspring of joy.

We see the help from our Lord, a help that asks nothing in

return, and our bottled up wretchedness is released. The flame of

hope that exudes from the Son softens our icy exterior which is

desperately retaining the exhausting flood. And yet, with our walls

slightly lowered on account of the initial sigh of relief we may feel,

the pressurized flood charges out of us and all our cares can no

longer be hid.

What greater love can one feel, what greater hope can one

have, what greater faith can one grasp on to than that

experienced by the one who sees the face of God?

Our eyes look up to the hills, asking for help and what do we

see? The Lamb of Calvary do we see: a body frail, torn by thorn

and nail; a pierced side from which blood and water flows; a face

marred by dripping blood and labored breath; and yet eyes so

benevolent we are put at perfect rest.


This Lamb, our propitiation, our sacrifice for our sins, asks

for nothing but our faith and in return He promises to takes on all

that assails us. To the ungodly He looks upon with compassion as

He tells them that He will be their righteousness. To the wicked

He looks with kindness and says, “Father, forgive them for they

know not what they are doing.” To the heavy laden He is gentle

and lowly of heart telling them that His yoke is easy and His

burden is light. To the poor in spirit the Lamb of God reminds us

that He came not to condemn us for we are already condemned




but to save us all. He sees the captive and proclaims He has

come to set us free.


He knows we are weak. He knows we suffer. He knows

every sin we have committed and will commit. He sees the deep

depravity of our hearts but He does not look upon such with anger

or wrath. Instead He is filled with grief over our sorry estate. He

sees the path we tread and the end result of our path. He is

begging us to turn around as we closer to the edge of the cliff that

leads to Hell. He sees us teetering on the edge and as we are just

about to lose our footing He reaches out to us and saves us while

taking the fall in our stead.


Jesus with His Law is like a drill sergeant whom we always

thought was mean and insufferable. But during training, for we are

but little children still learning to walk by faith, while learning how

to throw a grenade we pull the pin to our grenades ready to throw

it over the barrier only to drop it down to our feet. We stand

paralyzed at the grenade about to explode and see charging at us

our drill sergeant not with his usual apparent anger but with abject

fear. The drill sergeant throws us like a ragdoll over the barricade

to safety, and immediately puts his body over the grenade.

When we gaze upon the tattered body of our Savior know

this; every scar that He carries and bruise that He bears was

originally yours. He has willingly taken on your sins, your grief,

your shame, your burdens, your cares. He has willingly taken on

all these freely out of abundant unconditional love. The wound of

sin that was your death ticket has been taken by Christ who said I

will carry this heavy burden so you won’t have to. And in




exchange, the light burden Jesus carried, a burden so light it lifts

the bearer up to heaven, this light burden which is Jesus’ is given

to us. Our heavy burden which leads to perish is taken on by

Christ who then gives to us His light burden which lifts all who

believe to eternal life. He died so that we might live eternally.


He does this not for the godly; for those who work by the

Law and wish to be saved by the Law will receive their due. But

we who are ungodly and have no hope in the salvation through

the Law can be rest assured for Christ came down to earth for us.

He came to save the ungodly and wicked, the evil and

degenerate. The lost and the hopeless He came to save. The

criminal and the outcast, salvation He is to them. Tax collector,

politician, prostitute, murderer, all alike, it matters not, for He died

on the cross to save you of your sins regardless of who you are.

Is it the godly who look up to the hills will misery weighing

them down? Far from it! It is the one who sins who looks up

begging for mercy and grace. And to the one who looks up and

sees the face of God, not on account of who they are but only on

account of their faith, God justifies and makes righteous.

Our eyes may be lifted up to the hills and find the

horrendous Hill of Calvary. We may continue to lift our eyes up

and see the beginnings of three crosses. Our eyes lift higher and

are tormented by the image of three dying such a gruesome

death. But if our eyes just lift up ever so slightly on the lamb who

was lifted up on the cross and see His face then all despair will

perish. Sorrow will be wiped away and every tear from our eyes




as well. Any concern we carry will be lighten and the mercy and

grace we desired provided.

The cross may cause us pain, for the way Christ had to

provide for us this blessed peace reminds us of the sin we once

carried, and we like Peter do not want to see the one we love

pass away. But if we look beyond the pain associated with the

cross, never forgetting the cross, we see Christ and the wonderful

gift He is currently and will forever provide for us.

Let us pray,


Dear Heavenly Father, in our pain our eyes look up to you

for help. We thank you for the assurance we have found in you

and are blessed by your unconditional grace. In your name we

pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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