Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 23, 2023

Hymn: “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (LSB #438, v. 3)

“Yes, Father, yes, most willingly
I’ll bear what You command Me.
My will conforms to Your decree,
I’ll do what You have asked Me.”
O wondrous Love, what have You done!
The Father offers up His Son,
Desiring our salvation.
O Love, how strong You are to save!
You lay the One into the grave
Who built the earth’s foundation.
 
“I don’t wanna.” “Can I do ____ instead?” When we were children, I can almost guarantee that we all said these sorts of things. Those of us who are parents have likely heard these words from our children when they were asked to do something, no matter how simple it might have been. Even when our children obey our words, how often is it begrudging and forced? We know that our will for our children is good, but sometimes they don’t seem to agree.

When the Son responds to His Father’s request to lay down His life to bring salvation to God’s children, He shows a remarkable level of obedience. He doesn’t retort something like, “Well, that’s one idea, but what if we did it this way instead?” “I don’t really want to do that, Father. Can you send somebody else?” Instead, out of love, Christ is willing to bear what the Father commands, because His will conforms to the Father’s decree. Christ has always been, even before the foundation of the world, subservient to the Father’s will. In His earthly ministry, Christ teaches the crowds, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Jesus Christ was willing to suffer all, even death, in order to follow the Father’s good and perfect will.

This eternal submission of the Son to the Father flows out of the relationship between these two members of the Trinity. While the Son of God is eternally one with the Father, He is also eternally begotten from the Father. This does not mean that He has a beginning (that would be a heresy called Arianism). Instead, we recognize and believe that God’s Son has always been subservient to His Father while still retaining the equality of the Godhead with Him. Even before He took on human flesh, during this conversation in heaven which we are privileged to sing, the Son is willing to bear what His Father desires, even if it leads to death on a cross.

The final image of this verse zooms us forward to the moments following the crucifixion, when Jesus is buried in the garden tomb. Instead of focusing on Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea’s roles (as the Gospels do), this hymn personifies the Father as “Love,” who is Himself laying Jesus into the grave. Not only did the Father send His Son on this mission of love, but now, just as He did for Moses, He personally lays into the grave His own dear Son, the One who built the earth’s foundation. God is dead, but only in Christ. The Word of God by whom all things were made has perished. But, as you know, this is not where the story ends.
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