Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 29, 2023

Hymn: “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (LSB #440, v. 3)
Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see Your passion,
But its cause to me make known
And its termination.
Ah! I also and my sin
Wrought Your deep affliction;
This indeed the cause has been
Of Your crucifixion.
               As our hymn winds its way through the meditation of the passion, this verse reminds us that we should not stare at the violence, the gore, and the wrath for its own sake. We are not masochists who enjoy such sights and sounds. We are rather called to reflect and ponder on Christ’s sufferings and death for a reason.

               It is not for brutalities’ sake that we look to the cross, but we ask God that as we look at the cross, we would see the cause and see the end of it. We ask to know the purpose of the suffering and death of Jesus. We want to know “Why?” and “How long?”
               What we ask is answered by Jesus Himself. Jesus Himself asks, “Why have You forsaken Me?” to His Father. And He is the one who shows us the termination when He says, “It is finished.” At this point, we come to the realization that this verse of our hymn arrives at as well. God enlightens us with these words. “Ah!  I also and my sin, wrought Your deep affliction.”

               The cause of Christ’s sufferings is my sin. The finishing piece was death that paid the price. We often do not think much of sin. Sure, the big sins we scoff and expect due penalty for. Certainly, when we suffer from others’ sins, we expect punishment. But we don’t think much of sin in general. We are not horrified at our own sin. We give excuses. We minimize the damage and hide behind scapegoats.

               To meditate upon the cross is to be disarmed of such defense mechanisms. I am the guilty party. I cannot blame others. I cannot blame Judas. I cannot blame the unjust authorities. I am the one who put Jesus on that cross. And this is the penalty for my sin. This is what I should suffer. This is the cost and termination. This is how we view sin rightly. This is how we can estimate the price for my rebellion.

               It is hard to admit that we are at fault for our Lord’s death, that we are at fault for His punishment. But to realize that Jesus suffers this gladly, that He has in mind my redemption is also what we should meditate on. Christ suffers willingly. He does show us the price. This is the cost of our sin. But we see that Jesus is more than willing to cover that price, to free you, and to give you life in His name.