Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 51:11-16

Hebrews 5:7-9

John 12:20-33



“The Hour Comes”

 

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

 

Death comes to us all. We all know that we will die, but not when nor how nor in what manner. We may have an idea, we may have near certainty when and how our death will occur as our hour draws nearer and nearer, but one never truly knows. No one with sheer certainty, through their own devices determine exactly when and how we will expire from this life. We know it will happen, but that is the only certainty do we have. Oh we can get close to understanding the ways of the world and even closer to foretelling our coming end through the help of medicine, mathematics, and other such things, but one cannot know with sheer certainty.

 

We are not the authors of our lives. We are not God. We are free through Jesus, but this freedom is from sin and the sting of death and from true death. Yet this freedom does not give us the luxury to determine when our temporal deaths may occur.

 

One day we may have cancer and think that our eminent death comes near, only for a miracle to happen that rids our body of all signs of the life threatening condition. Gone is the certainty of death. One day we may be as fit as a fiddle with no concerns in the world and or life is snuffed out in the quickest of flashes, either by stroke or bullet or some freak accident. Gone is the certainty of temporal life.

 

We do not know our hour or when it will come, we dare not know, so we instead treat each day as if it is our last, while at the same time intending that a next day will follow. We cannot count the number of hairs are on our head, nor the stars in the sky, so neither can we determine the number of minutes in our lives. But there is one who knows all to include our coming hour, as well as His own coming hour. We do not know our hour; Jesus, on the other hand, did know.

 

Throughout all of Scripture, His death was foretold and in what manner. Scripture foretold also why he had to die. Now who is the author of Scripture? Ultimately, who is the source of these prophecies that foretell of the coming Messiah and His death? Well God. And is not Jesus also God? Therefore is not Jesus the author of the Old Testament? Is He not speaking to us through Scripture, telling us, providing for us prophecies, of the coming Messiah? Of course! Jesus is His own author, but God the Father is also the author of Jesus, who directs Jesus who perfectly obeys the Father. But in the end, Jesus, who is God, knew exactly when and in what manner He was to die, as to why He was to die. This is because He is the author, He is the Way, the Truth, and Life itself. He knew.

 

He gave us plenty of warning, not just in His life, such as in today’s Gospel when He said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself,” but also through the Old Testament. Jesus literally speaks to us through Scripture, such as through Isaiah, about His coming death. To those of you who attend our Wednesday Lenten Services, you know what I mean. For this season of Lent I have been giving short meditations on the section of Isaiah commonly referred to as the Suffering Servant, Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This section of Isaiah is only 15 verses long, so each Wednesday I have been preaching 3 verses at a time. The themes, broken down were, week one: the “Lifted Servant”, week two: the “Despised Servant”, three: the “Burdened Servant”, last week: the “Silent Servant”, and this coming Wednesday, to wrap it all up with Isaiah 53:10-12, the “Righteous Servant”. These 15 verses are just a few of the many verses throughout Scripture where Jesus literal tells us about His death, even before He is born. Therefore He, and only He and the Father, knew the when, the how, and the why.

 

Now before Jesus said in the Gospel, “The hour has come,” there were multiple times when Jesus said the hour had not come and escaped potential death. This includes earlier in the Gospel of John, the beginning of chapter 7 to be exact, when Jesus refused to go to Judea against the discretion of His disciples, but rather went to Galilee because the Jews in Judea were seeking to kill Him. Then, Jesus said, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”

 

Jesus knew His time had not yet come then, for He knew when the appropriate hour was supposed to be, in order for Scripture to be fulfilled. In today’s Gospel, that hour has arrived. It is time for all the cogs to move towards Jesus’ death. It is time for the final act to begin. It is time for the final verse to be sung. It is time for the final lap in Jesus’ race. It is time to pull the net in, to reel in the line. It is the time for the great harvest. It is time for the final chapter in a book. The final hour has come, the hour of all hours, the climax of human history, when the Son of Man is to be glorified, lifted on a tree for all to see. Good Friday arrives.

 

Yet, because Jesus knows that His hour has indeed finally arrived, He finds that now His soul is troubled. What does He say? This is the culmination of all He has worked for. This is the hour of fulfillment. Yet Jesus, who is the God of the Living, is to fulfill Scripture through His death. So He is troubled. He does not want to die. He does not want to suffer. He does not want to go to Hell, which is the complete opposite of His entire divine nature. He proclaims, “What shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour’?” He cannot say that, for that would also be contrary to His divine nature, and His entire mission. He was born so that He might die. And because of his divine nature, He must fulfill this mission, for to not do such would be disobedience, and disobeying God is sin, and Jesus can’t disobey Himself or His Father, nor can God have any sin within Him, therefore Jesus must die. His hour has come and He cannot change it. He has the power to save Himself, but He won’t because that would jeopardize His entire mission.

 

So He is troubled, and asks His Father to glorify not His, Jesus’, name, but to glorify the Father’s name. “Father, glorify your name.” And God the Father responds, which I could imagine gives Jesus much hope and reassurance. Jesus needs this. He needs hope and reassurance to proceed. I mean, He is about to die, and He knows this with sheer certainty. He needs this, and only God can provide Him with this certainty and help Jesus’ troubled soul.

 

And what is the peace of mind Jesus needed; that there is purpose in His actions. The Father did not glorify Jesus, nor did He glorify Himself for Jesus’ sake. The Father glorified Himself for our sake. Jesus’ entire mission was for our sake, under the commands of the Father. Jesus needed peace, this is all for their sake, my mission is not meaningless, I can now fulfill it, I can now willingly give up my life. The hour comes, and Jesus is ready.

 

Now there is a most curious thing about this sacrifice. Just like how a seed though already dead, if buried into the earth, ceases to be a seed and thus dies as it sprouts truly alive and grows into a plant that bears fruit, so must Christ and we through Christ. For in order for Christ to be glorified, he needed to first die. And the same applies to us. For before Christ we are like seeds, already dead. Our sinful lives are dead and thus if we love this sinful life we will ultimately lose it. Yet if we hate our sinfulness and instead reach out to Christ and have faith in Him then we are not only buried with Him, putting to death our former selves through Christ’s burial, but we are also raised with Christ in newness of life which lasts for eternity and bears good fruit. Isn’t it curious? Curious indeed, for if we wish to live eternity we must, through Christ, put to rest the old Adam and, also through Christ, lift up the new Adam. For if we become attached to the old Adam we will not only die, but are already dead.

 

The Hour comes, it is here, for the Son of Man to be glorified, and through His death, we too glorified, sanctified, justified, made righteous, made holy, cleansed, forgiven, absolved of our sins, made Saints, made Children of God, made Heirs of His Kingdom. The hour comes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, just like your son, who gave up his life, help us to let go of our sinful lives so that we too may be transformed and be brought to true eternal life, sanctified by Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with You, now and forever. In your most holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

 

Numbers 21:4-9

Psalm 27:1-9

Ephesians 2:4-10

John 3:14-21



“A Different Serpent”

 

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

 

Usually when talking about serpents our mind goes towards Satan. For example, the most common reference of serpents that our mind goes to is the creation story with Satan disguised as a serpent tricking Adam and Eve into disobeying God. Now, there is a reason why the term “snake’s tongue” is used to reference those with crafty and charismatic yet tricky and ill-intended speech. There is a reason why many are compelled to view politicians and lawyers who speak too smoothly as serpent’s who possess “snake tongues”. Jesus Himself called the politically motivated Pharisees “serpents” because, though they spoke beautifully and as if they had knowledge, their words were full of malice. It all goes back to Satan, that ancient serpent.

 

When we think of serpents, not only are we reminded of the craftiness of Satan, we are also reminded of the curse God brought down upon Satan for his treachery against humanity. Satan’s ultimate curse was to struggle against mankind. Serpents were to be the most cursed of all creatures on Earth; the offspring of the Serpent and the offspring of Eve will forever fight against each other. Many already know this, but what is the most feared animal on Earth? Snakes! As youth, it is spiders, but then we grow out of that fear and come to realize that the animal we truly need to fear, mostly for our children’s sake, are snakes. The struggle between serpent and humanity has been one since creation and still exists today.

 

And outside of the creation story, we reference this ancient serpent other times, to include Revelations. This is the same serpent who tricked Eve, Satan, but now, in Revelations Chapter 12, it’s talking about Satan’s struggle against Mary. Revelation Chapter 12 is not about prophesying what is yet to come but revealing, giving revelations, on what has already happened. Satan, the Ancient Serpent, was cast out of Heaven, and eventually he turned his eyes towards Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and her offspring. And through Herod he guided the Romans to commit mass genocide against infants in hopes of conquering Jesus, but Mary escaped to the wilderness, to Egypt. He failed, and ultimately, eventually through the blood of Christ, foretold, the Serpent failed again. Now the Serpent turns his eyes again, away from Mary, away from Christ, but towards the brothers and sister of Christ, us Christians who keep God’s commandments and hold firm to the testimonies of Jesus.

 

There are a myriad of references to snakes, most connecting serpents with the devil, but I ask you this, are all references to snakes in the Bible so negative? Are all references towards snakes connected directly to Satan? Our reading in Numbers and today’s Gospel would prove the answer is no. Not all references of serpents are bad. When the Israelites grumbled about the wilderness, God sent fiery serpents, incredibly venomous serpents against them as punishment, and many died because of this punishment.

Now at this point many of you might be thinking, now Pastor, did you not say that not every reference of serpents is negative? This reference here seems pretty negative. Where’s the positive reference of snakes, you may ask? Well I’m almost there. For as soon as many started to suffer and die for their transgressions against God through the venom of these serpents, Many went to Moses, and Moses in turn went to God, and all started to plead to God for mercy, acknowledging that they are sinners and have sinned against God. In response, God told them to make a serpent, place it on a pole, and all who look upon it will survive the serpent’s venom. Moses did what he was told and made for the Israelites a bronze serpent which was placed on a pole.

 

The symbol of the bronze serpent is not a negative reference, but one that points us towards hope, healing, and forgiveness. There is a reason why one of the symbols in medicine is a serpent on a staff, though there is that one symbol with two serpents. Many would tell you this symbolism comes from Greek Mythology, but where did they, the Greeks, get their symbolism? It is all rooted in this story by Moses, for God through Moses gave the serpent a more positive imagery, one of healing.

 

Now before I get falsely accused of comparing Jesus to Satan through the usage of serpents, I ask this, when God deemed all of his creation on Earth as good did that include the serpent? The serpent was indeed created good; it was Satan who twisted the serpent. So here is God reclaiming His creation, and redeeming it as good once again; for whereas Satan is The Serpent, not all serpents are, or are of, Satan. Therefore, the serpent we talk of now is not Satan, but a different serpent.

 

In today’s Gospel it reads, “And [just] as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so [too] must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus is to be like the bronze serpent lifted by Moses; which is a different serpent. For whereas serpents are traditionally associated with evil; the bronze serpent which Jesus associates with is one of good, it is a different serpent. Not one that brings pain and ultimately death, but one sacrificed so that all who look upon it and believe will be saved. All those who suffered the venom of those fiery serpents believed in God and the Words of God provided by Moses. Therefore, out of faith toward God, they turned their eyes up to the bronze serpent and were cured of the venom that was killing them. Like-wise, all those who suffer sin and the result of sin, which is death, yet have true faith in Christ, turns their eyes up towards the Cross and the lifted up Messiah, and through the Cross are healed of their transgressions, are forgiven of their sins, and are saved from true death.

 

Now there is an interesting connection here. In the story of Moses, many sinned against God and because of their sins the consequence was death via snake venom, yet out of faith toward God if they turned their eyes toward the bronze serpent they would be saved. In today’s Gospel, all have sinned and because of our sins we are all condemned to Hell, yet out of faith toward Christ if we turn our eyes toward the Cross we would be saved.

 

All have sinned, all have failed God, none have completely obeyed the Law, none can completely obey the Law. Why? Because we are sinners. God cannot have any sin within Him, so because of our sins, we are already doomed to Hell, doomed to eternal death, away from God the source of all life. In addition, because of our sins, we are already dead. Because of our sins, we have turned away from God, the source of life, and become like the walking dead. We are already condemned, therefore when Christ came He did not come to condemn us, for we are already condemned, no He came to save us. Save us from our sin. He did not come to abolish the Law, He did not come to change or add to the Law, He came to fulfill the Law, by being the Sacrifice mentioned in the first chapter of Leviticus. And He came for both the Jews who are under the Law and the Gentiles who do not know they are under the Law, for all are under the Law, therefore all are in need of Forgiveness. So, like the Good Serpent, Jesus came so that He too may be lifted up as a sacrifice for the forgiveness and healing of all who looks upon Him with faith, and through Him may have not death but eternal life.

 

Now the forgiveness of Christ should not be used as a means to keep on sinning, or as an excuse to claim there is no such thing as sin, or to claim that the Law has been replaced by a new covenant. The Law still remains and we are still sinners, yet, the forgiveness of Christ is readily available to those who repent of their sins and will always be readily available. The Cross still remains, it has not been taken down, therefore the opportunity to cast our eyes on it and receive the healing powers of forgiveness is still available and, until second coming, will always be available.

 

We regularly label Jesus as the Lamb of God, as a Sacrificial Lamb, and other such names referring to Lambs and sheep. Today, let us also reflect on Christ in light of the bronze serpent lifted by Moses. For Christ is like that bronze serpent, a different serpent, not one of death, but one of self-sacrifice and healing and forgiveness; a good serpent that was lifted up so that all may look upon it and be healed, not merely healed of snake venom, but healed from the venom of that ancient serpent, Satan himself, and his venom is known as sin.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, in our darkness you send us your Son to be lifted up like the bronze serpent and die so that we may live, giving up his own life not to condemn the world, but to save it from its own sins. Give us the strength to continue to cast our eyes on Jesus to give up our weaknesses, our sins, so that we may live peaceable lives void of shame and guilt. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Exodus 20:1-17

Psalm 19:7-14

1 Corinthians 1:22-25

John 2:13-22



“God’s Law”

 

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

 

Are laws in of themselves good? Yes, of course, laws in of themselves are indeed good. Now some might say, well are there not bad laws out there? Well of course, but that is not what I asked, for I did not say are all laws good but are laws in of themselves good. Basically, another way of asking is this, is it good to have laws? Yes, for it is terrible to not have laws, laws are good, but not all laws are good.

 

The thing is this, we are sinners, and we are not perfect. We fail and some may have ill intent. Due to these failings that we have, every now and then a bad law is put in place. Now here is the thing, whereas we are sinners and imperfect, is not God pure and perfect? In addition, I ask, is not the foolishness of God wiser than the wisest of men? The answer is yes! God is perfect, the wisest of the wise, void of sin, and all good. Therefore would it not follow that from God there are no bad laws?

 

Laws in of themselves are good, and all the laws God has made are indeed good. There is no such thing as a bad law that proceeds from God for all are designed to help us and guide us and lead us towards perfect and peaceable lives. God’s Law is good.

Now I don’t usually pull from Psalms my message, but today will be different, for today’s Psalm perfectly reflects on the goodness of God’s Law which includes, but not exclusively, the Ten Commandments which we read in our first lesson. In Psalms 19, it reads, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandments of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes,” and, “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether,” and, “Moreover, by them is your servant warned.”

 

Out of God’s goodness the Law was provided so that we may understand what is good and what is bad. There are things that are obviously bad and will produce bad things. To walk a life unaware of such things is horrifying. Blissful ignorance may seem good, but it isn’t. Blissful ignorance is like the person who has a life threatening cancer and knows not the cancer that is in them until they die an incredibly early death. Blissful ignorance is like the person who is incapable of feeling pain and thus harms themselves constantly but may not tell because there is no pain. Blissful ignorance is like the person who is never told that they could have received a raised and thus never do. Blissful ignorance is like never being invited to family events and never becoming aware that said events happened. Blissful ignorance is like sinning against your neighbor and/or God and never finding out that your actions are sinful in nature. Blissful ignorance, when it comes to bad things, is not blissful, but, in all reality, incredibly painful.

 

Now darkness loves darkness and hates the light, thus the old Adam in us hates the laws and views it as a curse. We don’t like it when our actions are exposed as sinful. We want to live in blissful ignorance; we want to live in darkness. That’s the thing, blissful ignorance, when it comes to sin, is darkness. Thus we don’t like it when we are told that we have sinned. Our pride bubbles up within us and we act with rage at God’s Law, wanting to hide it so that we can continue acting as if our actions our good. There is no healing, just blissful ignorance.

 

I am reminded of AA, and multiple other help groups, what is the first step to solving a problem? What is the first step? The first step is acknowledging there is a problem. That is the first step, and that much should be obvious because if you never acknowledge it then how will you ever solve it? We need the Law, because it warns us and helps us see the reality of things that are not good. The Law helps us in understanding what is righteous and perfect and pure, but at the same times warns us of what are wicked and imperfect and dirty abominations. The Law is designed to give us awareness.

 

The thing is this; if I was to ignore the Law does that mean that there is no sin? Of course not. Now let’s say that I abolished the Law, does that mean I have also abolished sin itself? Of course not. And before the Law was given to Man, during the time of Moses, does that mean that there was no such thing as sin? Of course not. Sin has always existed, the Law merely points us towards what it looks like to live a sinless life.

 

But here is the problem with the Law, whereas it is perfect and right and pure and the source of our knowledge of what a pure and perfect righteous life looks like, because we cannot perfectly obey the Law, the Law is a curse.

 

The Law demands too much from us. It shows us that if we don’t do this and that we would go into Heaven. It gives us a list of things that are considered sins and we know that God cannot have any sin within Him. It provides a rubric test and a litmus test, but one that equally demands perfection out of us. Such demands are impossible. We can’t perfectly obey the Law, we are failures born with sin already; we are failures born with the inability to love God; we are failures born with the inability to truly know God. Thus, even though the Law is amazing and perfect and a loving guide provided for us by God so that we may live a life void of sin, the Law turns into a curse that we have come to despise and despair over.

 

How can we find hope in the Law? All the Law does is expose to me the very fact that I am indeed going to Hell! What’s the point in exposing my sins, exposing what is bad, if I can’t rectify the issue completely? I’m already doomed to Hell, why give me something else to worry about. In fact, why don’t you just let me live in blissful ignorance.

 

Now least you say that Psalm 19 is too Law heavy, it does concludes with the Gospel, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

 

The thing is this, you are not alone. By yourself, you will fail, but you are not by yourself; you have a benevolent Lord looking over you. Again, the first step to rectifying a problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem, but now that you have acknowledged it how do you rectify the issue? With regards to sin, the problem is exposed by the Law, but the problem is rectified through Jesus Christ who died on that Cross, on Good Friday, so that you may be cleansed of your sins.

 

Let not the sins have dominion over me, let them not control me, but clean me of these sins, free me from the chains of sin, and lead me towards the true bliss that comes from You alone. We cannot make ourselves blameless, sinless, but through the blood of your Son, our Redeemer, we do become blameless, and innocent of our great transgressions, of our sins.

 

So the Law is perfect, and it is good, it is God’s Law by the way, and in addition to the Law it becomes more perfect and fulfilled through the Gospel, through the death of Christ, which provides for us the means of eternal forgiveness. Thus, the Law isn’t as bleak as we may make it out to be. Yes we fail it, but that doesn’t make it bad, it just proves to us that the issue lies with us. Yet, there is no need to despair, for the Law also points us towards the means of forgiveness of rectifying our sins, and that is Christ Himself.

 

When Christ went to His Father’s house and saw that the merchants transformed his home into a den of thieves, for the merchants has stolen His home for their own purposes, Christ was wrathful, and justly so. He made a whip and let his anger fall on all that invaded His home and was using like a market place. He brought the Law down hard on them. And out of their confusion, the intruders asked Jesus, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The day of Jesus’ death and resurrection is coming. But know this; He did all this for our sake. Lord knows we cannot keep the Law, so he gave us a Son who will die for our sake and then come back in three days for our sake. And by these two actions He will cleanse the temple and all the sinners and thieves in it, sanctifying them in the eyes of God’s Law so that we may present ourselves as blameless and innocent of great transgressions.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, out of kindness and love you provided for us your perfect Law so that we may become aware of our sins and not fall victim to Satan like dumb lambs, but out of greater kindness and love you gave to us your Son to cleanse us of the sins we are now aware of through the Law. Let us not ever come to hate the Law but see the intended goodness of your gift. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

For the season of Lent, these Wednesdays, we will be reading from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, but only three verses at a time. Today we read:

 

Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

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

In Scripture it says that through Christ our yoke is easy and our burden is light, but what does that mean? Throughout our lives, because of sin and the weight of the world and all its ungodly demands (yes, that was a pun), we live an incredibly burdened life. The gravitas of our own failures against the Law and the worldly demands crushes us into the ground and makes it difficult to live a life full of joy and peace. The burdens of our daily lives make it difficult to cherish the gifts of the Lord, his providence, and enjoy the many blessings He has given such as family and friend. We are weighed down by our own guilt and shame and by deceitful ploys that only add more guilt and shame on our troubled conscious. Yet through Christ, this burden that troubles us is lightened, but how is that so?

The servant, the suffering servant of the Lord, a child of God, was to come as one who was burdened, but isn’t God one who is void of sin? The suffering servant was to be afflicted, but isn’t God all powerful and incapable of accruing the damages of sin as He cannot sin? The suffering servant was to be struck down by God, but wouldn’t that mean God’s house is divided? It is true to say that this chosen servant, this Son of God, is pure and clean and sinless and incapable of sinning. This servant is mighty and would never go against God; is perfectly obedient to the Father. So why is he being struck down by God and afflicted?

Out of hatred towards this servant, we caused Him to suffer and we esteemed Him as struck down by God for His own sins and afflicted with the most vile of sins, Blasphemy against the Lord. We despised Him and His message and what He represented; we wanted Him gone. It is out of our anger that we esteemed Him as such. Now He was struck down and afflicted, but God did not struck Him down for any sin He committed nor is this servant afflicted with anything He himself has done.

He is the sacrificial lamb, the burdened servant; for he was not burdened with His own sins, but ours. This servant was struck down by God because this servant took on the weight of the world and lifted our own sins off our shoulders, and God cannot have any sin within Him. This servant was afflicted because He was marred with the all the sins of the world that He chose to bore. Not His own sins, for this servant was perfect and cannot sin, but our sins.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” This was not His griefs and sorrows he carried but ours. He was burdened so that we may not be burdened; burdened with our own griefs and sorrows. And as he was struck down for carrying our sins, out of anger we sneered and laughed at His suffering body, esteeming the sins He carried as His own. Not once realizing that on that Passover day He was to be The Sacrificial Lamb. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” Like the Lamb which is killed for Passover so that the Spirit of Death would Passover the Egyptians, this servant would be the Lamb, burdened with all our sins, killed during Passover so that God’s Judgment of Death and Hell would Passover each and every one of use.

This judgement should be ours, we should be on that cross, we should be the ones suffering, we should be the ones baring our own burdens, we should be the ones going to Hell, but this servant carries all of that so that we do not. We are like lost sheep who have gone astray, always doing what we want to do, contradicting Scripture left and right, but He is the Sacrificial Lamb, the obedient sheep, the Good Shepherd. He has borne our burdens, but He does this so that we may be lost sheep no more, but found once again and brought together in his fold, for through Him our yoke is easy and our burden is light.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we do not deserve your grace for we are lost sheep, but regardless you have blessed us with a servant who serves as the Passover Lamb to save us from our sins and lead us to eternal bliss. We thank you for your bless and are eternally grateful. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

For the season of Lent, these Wednesdays, we will be reading from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, but only three verses at a time. Today we read:

 

Isaiah 53:1-3

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

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

In what way was the Messiah supposed to of come? Many believed He would come in majesty and in ah; that this great king would arrive with such might and prowess that all the masses would bow at His name and the Jews would once again rise up, like in the days of David, once again as the high kingdom on the highest of mountains ruling over all other kingdoms. The coming Messiah was to be this, but is that what they received?

Whereas Jesus is indeed great and powerful, that much is undeniable, for He is God, He came as one who was low, humble, a mere teacher, a great Rabbi and prophet at that, but not a great political figure. He was unimpressive, lacking in grandioso, not what they expected.

“Who has believed what he has heard from us?” Well not the Jews, they had their own notion and beliefs on who Jesus was supposed to be. They have ears, but they did not listen to God. They have eyes, but they did observe God’s Word. They have brains, but they choose not to understand God but rather listen and observe and understand what they wanted to believe; making things up as they go and denying anything from God that goes against their ungodly make belief notions of God and His commands and religion in general.

God revealed His arm, His right hand, to them, He revealed His Son, but they did not look. They could not see Christ, they had their own image of Christ planted in their heads, this Christ cannot be their Christ, He doesn’t match their perceived notion of who Christ is supposed to be, so they denied Christ. They did not see Christ, they saw a fake. In fact, they despised this servant. And to this day our culture still despises this servant, Christ, but nothing has changed. We make up our own fake faiths in our own fake culture with our own fake God and fake Christ to satisfy our fake lives that wallow in sin. Nothing has changed.

He was not impressive, majestic, beautiful, pleasing to the eye; He was not what we wanted. We do not desire Him. We desire something else. We don’t want Him. We want our own made up version of Him. And because He came in an undesirable form, He was rejected, He was despised, He was hated. “Give us what we want,” we cry out. We demand that you God, obey us, not the other way around, and give us what we demand. We demand a great king, not this flimsy unimpressive priest. He was a great king, but they couldn’t see it. Today we do the same thing, demanding that God obeys us and give us what want with regards to God’s Word. We want a God who accepts our sins and tells us it’s alright keep on living your sinful lives. We want a God who tells us that our actions are not in all reality sinful. We want a God who is not Masculine, aka the Father and the Son. We want a God who does not think that abortion is murder. We want a God who does not label homosexuality and transgenderism as abominations. We want a God who accepts other religions. We want a God who is alright with racism and bearing false witness such as proclaiming that you are automatically a racist if you are white. In today’s Culture, there are many demands we place on God; demands that God will never deliver. Therefore, even to this day, we have come to despise and reject God and His servant, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We esteemed Him not; we hide our faces from His brilliance, from the Truth which comes from Him. We hide Him for we wish not to see Him. We are ashamed of Him. We are also ashamed of ourselves. The Jews did not want to see Him any further; they could not dare to be in His presence any further, for every time they laid eyes on Him they are reminded that they were wrong; cannot have that, we have our own pride to protect. We must ruin Him. We must get rid of Him. We must destroy Him. Crucify Him!

Man of Sorrows, what a most befitting name.

Let us pray,

 

Lord God, help us to never come to hate you and to despise the unaltered and revealed truth that comes from and only from you. Give us the grace to accept the truth and to never give into culturally induced rejection and hatred toward you and your faithful servants. We pray in your most holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Bible Verse of the Day

Contact Us

Address
2370 N.E. Catawba Road
Port Clinton, Ohio 43452
Phone
(419) 797-4628