Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 9, 2023

Hymn: “O Christ, You Walked the Road” (LSB #424, v. 3)
No blinding sign we ask,
No wonder from above.
Lord, help us place our trust alone
In Your unswerving love.
Have you ever wanted to see one of Jesus’s miracles in person? Have you ever felt like Moses, who on Mount Sinai asks God to “show me Your glory?” (Exodus 33:18). If you’re like any normal person, you’d be impressed by signs or wonders from above. If you were standing on the Mount of Transfiguration, saw Jesus shine like the sun, and heard the voice of the Father, wouldn’t you want more of that? It could be easy to place your trust in all of the signs and wonders. It could be increasingly easy, then, to require signs and wonders for any faith at all.

That’s the second temptation which Satan lays before Jesus. Both the devil and the Christ know that God has commanded His angels to protect His people. That’s the citation from Psalm 91 that Satan uses. However, he urges Jesus to ask for a blinding sign from above, a wonder done from heaven. Standing on the pinnacle of the Temple, Satan urges Jesus to just jump off in order to get a sign that God will actually keep His Word. Without that sign, can you even believe in God’s promises? How do you really know that God will do as He has said?

In the words of Jesus Himself: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39–40). This quotation immediately follows the request of some of the scribes and Pharisees for a sign. Think of all the signs that He had already performed; all the proofs that He had already given. All of Jesus’s signs point to His identity as the Son of God and Savior of the world. When His miracles do not bring people to saving faith in Jesus, they are not functioning as He intends them. Instead, the Pharisees, the scribes, and the rest of that sinful generation was just looking to be impressed and amazed again.

So many Christians earnestly desire a sign or wonder from heaven above. We want God to blow our socks off with His big booming voice or His dazzling light or His holy angels. These desires emerge so much stronger during times of difficulty. When the rubber meets the road, and things get tough, we often ask ourselves, “Is God even with me? Can you just show me a sign, O Lord, that You’re there and that You care?”

We have a sign that is so much more certain than dazzling lights or booming voices. “We have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). Saint Peter writes these words, the man who himself witnessed the Transfiguration. He heard the booming voice of God declare Jesus’s identity as the beloved Son. He saw Moses and Elijah standing in the dazzling white light. And yet, Peter says that the Word of God is more sure than any part of that vision.

We pray at the end of this stanza that the Lord would help us trust in His love, even when we do not receive these glorious signs. God’s Word is sufficient for every truth we need about our Father, His Son, and their Spirit. Jesus didn’t jump off the pinnacle of the Temple because He trusted that His Father was there protecting Him, even without that glorious sign. Likewise, we Christians have the promises of God in His Word. He is there. Here’s your sign.
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