Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 7, 2023

Hymn: “O Christ, You Walked the Road” (LSB #424, v. 1)

O Christ, You walked the road
Our wand’ring feet must go.
You faced with us temptation’s pow’r
And fought our ancient foe.
You decide one evening that you wish to head out for a stroll, but really don’t have any intended direction. Walking down the road on which your house sits, you happen to glance up in the distance and see a man walking on ahead of you. You don’t recognize this guy as anyone from the neighborhood, yet he seems to be walking with purpose and direction. You decide to follow him, though you have absolutely no idea where he is headed. You are surprised when he turns and heads into “that part of town.” You know that there’s really not sketchy parts of the town where you live, but there’s still places that you wouldn’t want to go as the sun is going down. Yet, you follow him down the road anyways, because you just feel so compelled to wander with this man you do not know.

Our feet are prone to get us off into places where we should not go. Even as we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we wander into “those parts of town” without a care or concern in the world. Our wandering feet are all too connected to our rebellious heart, which often delights in sin and the dark places where sin happens. It is in these dark places where our wandering feet take us that we encounter temptation’s power. Satan is not called the prince of darkness for no reason. He and his demons dwell in the darkness, waiting to pounce with temptations and alluring ideas when we wander through their area.

As you look down at the path on which you walk, you begin to notice that there is another set of footprints in the dust, left by the man who you’ve been following all this time. That man has since stopped, looking back over his shoulder as if he is waiting for you to catch up to him. When you finally do, you notice that the man you’ve been following on this road is none other than Christ Jesus Himself. “Lord, what are you doing here?” you inquire. Jesus turns and looks at you with a smile, “I knew that you were unable to face temptation’s power alone. The ancient foe is awfully powerful. Therefore, I walk the road with you.”

Christ Jesus walked the road where our wandering feet would later follow. He charged forward after His Baptism into a direct confrontation with the devil to fight the ancient foe, that serpent, the great red dragon of Revelation. He experienced the same power of temptation that we all do. “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The author of Hebrews also reminds us that “because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). When we stumble or fall on temptation’s dark road, He is there to forgive and restore us. When we wander off the path, He is there to call us back. When we are assaulted by the ancient foe, He is there to provide strength to face it.

So often, when we are tempted by the devil, we feel utterly alone, as if nobody else has ever experienced this sort of thing. That’s exactly what Satan wants you to believe. This hymn stanza reminds us that one Man has already faced the very temptation that we face: Christ Jesus. He now walks the road with us and our wandering feet, giving power to overcome.
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