Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 30, 2023

Hymn: “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (LSB #440, v. 4)
Grant that I Your passion view
With repentant grieving.
Let me not bring shame to You
By unholy living.
How could I refuse to shun
Ev’ry sinful pleasure
Since for me God’s only Son
Suffered without measure?
               So far, the hymn has pushed us through the horror. We first dared to glance upon Jesus Christ and the pure simple fact of the violence He suffered.

               Second, we were to see the reason for the violence. We were to see that this was not violence for violence’s sake. This was intentional and on purpose. These were my hands that laid on Christ. This was my sin that caused this harm. This was my punishment and death that He came to suffer.

               Our hymn, having worked these images and guilt into us, now moves us to repentance. Seeing Jesus on the cross is a cause to repent. This is so because I see that my sin causes this. I do not desire to harm my Lord Jesus. I do not want to heap further abuse upon Him. The lies and mockery cause me to silence my lips and beg for pardon. I am moved, like the thief on the cross, to cry out for mercy and grace.

               And now still, though I am not at death’s door, I do not want to bring further shame to my Lord. I do not want more blood to cover me, though indeed He graciously provides that grace.

               But it is this realization of my sin, by gazing upon the cross that I am able to now fight sin. The meditation of the cross is to now bring me to repentance and to cause me to bear the fruits of repentance. By looking upon the suffering and death of Jesus over my sin, how could I now refuse to shun sin?  How could I let it into my life?  How can I continue to lie, cheat, steal, murder, commit adultery, have other gods, seeing what Jesus will go through for me?

               In fact, everything that I took pleasure in with sin is now shame. Since, for me, God’s only Son suffered without measure. Jesus was willing to pay sin’s wages. Now, I am done with this sin. It is time to fight. A fight that takes place every day of this life. A fight that is not a checkbox marked. Repentance is not a question answered on a test and moved on from. Repentance is the life of the Christian. Anyone who tells you that it is not, is a thief and a liar. We must always be moved to repentance. We are never done, because sin always seeks to hold us every day of this life. We are in a struggle. Failure is to stop struggling. Victory is to last until Jesus calls us home.