Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 16, 2023

Hymn: “Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow” (LSB #428, v. 3)

O mysterious condescending!
O abandonment sublime!
Very God Himself is bearing
All the sufferings of time!
               How? is the next question that we come to ask about this Jesus and His crucifixion. How does our salvation get done? Here we see the full weight of the sorrow that is laid out in these words: condescending and abandonment. Jesus humiliated Himself. He came down from glory. He knew heaven’s joys and peace. He is the eternal Son of God. And He left that. He left it all to come down here below to bring us up to Him.

               But the cost is indeed dreadful. To feel the full weight of sin, to feel not just the physical agony, but the spiritual agony of what it must have been like to feel damnation. No human knows the full scope of that, but Jesus does. And the mystery of it all is that Jesus did it out of love. He did not do it out of obligation. He did not do it because he had to. Jesus did it because he wanted you. Mysterious indeed. Jesus wants the price to be paid out of love for you and me.

               And you know what, Jesus still does want you. Nothing will change His mind. He would not go to the cross and let you be lost. He is not about to let you go after all He did to get you. He will lose nothing of what is given to Him. And that mystery is still given here. In the New Testament, the word “mystery” was soon translated as Sacrament. The mystery is still present today. The mystery still condescends from heaven’s throne to be here now with us as Jesus himself promised us.
               And that leads us to our last question of When? This question is a question of time. Over what period of time does this sacrifice extend? Very God Himself is bearing all the sufferings of time. In a world where things decay, in a world where that decay brings suffering, there is not a bit of suffering that Jesus did not bear. As William Simpson the hymn writer went through his life, he saw the world around him change. The advances of time from 1860 when he was born changed the world as he knew it by the time he died in 1952. From a world of muskets to hydrogen bombs, from quiet pasture life to urban automatization. As much as the world advanced, it only made the suffering grow too. But even though suffering increases, so too does the love of God. There is not a drop of suffering that Jesus does not cover.

               Jesus has suffered all the effects of time. All the sins of all time are included in Jesus’ love. But the wise would do well to take note. Time is coming to an end. History will be finished. The Last Day will dawn and end. There will be a day that the cross will no longer cover and the day that is today will be finished. Now is the time to seek God’s favor, now is the time to get sins covered. So that when all is revealed on the Last Day, we all shall stand with hearts forgiven and renewed. There is plenty of grace. But there is little time.