Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 1, 2023

Hymn: “Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing” (LSB #421, v. 2)

Should some lust or sharp temptation
Fascinate my sinful mind,
Draw me to Your cross and passion,
And new courage I shall find.
Or should Satan press me hard,
Let me then be on my guard,
Saying, “Christ for me was wounded,”
That the tempter flee confounded.
Rally to the cross! The cross is the banner and flag upon which we fall back to make our last and only stand. The army is wiped out. Our strength is at an end. The tides of the devil, the world, and our own treacherous flesh have caused a rout. Where do we turn?

When some lust or sharp temptation pierces our flanks like a spear, or when we are tantalized to give up the fight and fall to the siren’s sound, we must keep our eyes fixed on the cross. Jesus likewise said, “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32). The lines are broken. The defenses are gone. Where will you look for help? Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Our help is in the One who sent His only Son, that in these last days and in the final struggle we would be banded to Him. A strange sign to rally to. God’s Son, dead and hanging on the cross, is the place we rally to and not the place we flee from.
For new courage at the foot of the cross we shall find. The place where God suffered for me. The place where God’s love met death and won. And perhaps as you and I rally to the cross, we shall find some comrades and brothers in arms. Together we will face down the final enemy by looking to the cross. Together we shall apply the salve we need to one another: one that comes from the blood of Jesus to soothe away each stain. Together we stand as God’s army, equipped with the armor of God that Jesus Christ gives to His people.

And when Satan comes and presses us hard (and know that he will), but when he does we are called to hold the line with each other. Dark times may lie ahead, suffering may indeed abound, but let us be on our guard. Let us look at our enemies, our sins and our own deaths and say, “Christ for me was wounded.”

It is the Gospel to which we rally. This sign and symbol is where we find that God did this for me. When I hear my sins are forgiven, when I receive the blessed Sacrament and am clothed in my Baptism, indeed, clothed with Christ Himself, there I will see that the tempter cannot pursue his attack any longer. At the very moment that Satan thinks he has us, at the precipice in which our doom is hung, Christ shines amid the darkness. The Tomb is empty! Christ is risen! The horrors and power of the enemy are broken and he flees, stunned that defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory.
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