Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - Feb 24, 2023

Hymn: “Savior, When in Dust to Thee” (LSB #419, v. 3)
By Thine hour of dire despair,
By Thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O’er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble sigh;
Hear our penitential cry!
        Despair, agony, cross, nail, thorn, piercing spear, torturing scorn, the gloom and darkness of the sky as God’s Son hangs dead as a corpse.

        These are images and words that cause us to recoil. How can this please God? Those who call themselves civilized might reject such images. God is pleased with this sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, yet we are revolted. God is barbaric, they say. The torturing scorn continues for God’s Son.  But many Christians have also sought to move beyond the cross. This is done as simply as refusing to see an image of a crucifix. But many are sophisticated. The cross is pushed to the side in favor of something appealing to bring in the masses. The church turns into all community action and social justice. This church promotes a positive image into the community. No cross, let alone Jesus, are needed or required. Nails and spear do not attract the masses, as the wise would say.

        But God has shamed the wisdom of the wise. God’s foolishness is stronger than men’s strength. Here at the cross we see the irony as rebels of God show us the price of rebellion. Here we see the result of mankind’s sin. Here we view the nature of sin rightly. And here is where we see the price for it for those who rebel against God.

        And here, for all who believe, the images of cross and nail and thorn and spear and scorn and gloom over this dreadful looking sacrifice are the very thoughts that are dear to us knowing that on them hangs our Savior. I desire to know nothing else besides Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

        Despite all the world’s gloats, and all the attempts to move beyond the cross, yet they are never able to succeed. For Jesus Christ is Lord of His Church. The cross is how He is Lord, and when the darkness of the world with its vanity tries to cover up the cross, Jesus will not let the darkness cover Him. The cross shines as a city on a hill, and the people of God know to sigh as we give up our glory and confess along with Peter that this is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who alone has the Words of eternal life. Listen indeed to that humble cry, dear Lord God.