Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 21, 2023

Hymn: “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (LSB #438, v. 1)

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
The guilt of sinners bearing
And, laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing;
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer,
He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies,
The mockery, and yet replies,
“All this I gladly suffer.”
When you picture a lamb, what sorts of adjectives flood into your mind? How would you describe it? A lamb is gentle, meek, and lowly. A lamb is weak and innocent. A perfect lamb is spotless and unblemished…but not this Lamb. This Lamb is laden with the sins of earth, bearing the guilt of sinners, and nobody else shares His burden. Imagery is being pulled in here from the Day of Atonement, which was the highest and most important festival of Israel’s religious calendar. On the Day of Atonement, two goats were presented before the high priest. One was sacrificed as a burnt offering. The other had the sins of the people confessed over its head and was exiled into the wilderness to become the property of Azazel. Christ Jesus, the Lamb of our hymn, combines these two goats into one. He is bearing our sins on His way to slaughter “and He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

You can almost feel the difficulty of Christ’s walk to Golgotha as we sing the words. He goes patiently on, but He is growing weak and faint as He does. Remember that before He started walking to His crucifixion, He was beaten, flogged, smacked in the face, and spit upon. If He wasn’t dragging His feet when He left the throne room of heaven, He certainly is now, just because He doesn’t have the strength to pick them up. And yet, He offers no complaint. He takes all of the stripes, the wounds, the lies that the chief priests declared about Him, and all of the mockery of the Romans, and yet replies, “All this I gladly suffer.” He goes to His death with joy because He goes to His death for you.

When our road gets hard and the way we must walk is difficult, our sinful human tendency is immediately to complain. As the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, they had barely gone three days from Egypt before they started grumbling against the Lord. “What shall we drink?” was a pretty frequent cry (Exodus 15:24). Whining and complaining came naturally to the adults of Israel. We’re not much different than them. One little thing goes wrong and we begin to grumble about the misfortunes of our circumstances.

If anyone ever had a right to complain about His misfortunes, it was Jesus Christ. He was laden with all the sins of earth, marching to a death that He had not deserved. He has a spotless life which is about to be taken away. And yet, He does not complain. He offers it willingly, even with joy, because He knows the fruit that it will bring to His people.
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