Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 31, 2023

Hymn: “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (LSB #440, v. 5)
If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let Your cross my fear disarm;
Peace of conscience give me.
Help me see forgiveness won
By Your holy passion.
If for me He slays His Son,
God must have compassion!
               At this point, our hymn has wound us through the horror and repentance that the mediation of the Passion of Jesus Christ was sought to produce. Now the meditation takes a turn. It is not enough to be brought to horror and repentance. Even Judas, Saul, and Esau were brought to repentance. But what we must now come to is faith and trust. Without these, then our meditation will not produce the desired results.

               Certainly, where the last verse left off with repentance, thoughts of despair no doubt entered into our heads. If we only have the image of adding to the suffering of Jesus when we continue to sin, then certainly all we will receive out of this meditation is despair and weeping.
               But now, we must let God turn us. We must ask to see God’s smiling face. “If my sins now cause me alarm.” When I see that my repentance must now lead to more repentance. When I see that sins keep piling up.

               And when my conscious grieves me. As I feel ashamed and exposed in my sin, seeing what the cost has wrought with Jesus, I am now to turn to the cross and let Jesus disarm my fear. I must hear that Jesus says to me, “Truly you will be with Me in paradise.”

               This is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is, you too will be. And where you are, He will be there too. He will bear every failing. He will lovingly receive every blow. He will die your death. He will feel God’s wrath for you. And you won’t feel a thing, and Jesus Christ would not have it any other way.

               You owe nothing to God. Your sins are wiped out. They are not remembered. Jesus Christ has absorbed it all. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus says. Our conscience can now come forward to God with no fear, knowing that Christ has sustained us.

               And now we ask, amid our fears and worries, that God would help us see now the forgiveness won. The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us confidence that He will not disown us. That His grace is enough to cover our sins, and that His victory over death will also be my victory.

               Do not be afraid. Jesus spent so much to purchase you. He will not lose you. His searching for you will not be in vain. His Word has found you in your listening of it, and Jesus is wherever the Word is proclaimed.

               For if for you God slays His only Son, God must have compassion. God feels it right in His guts for you. Like a mother who carries her child in the womb and loves that child, so too does God love you. The cross proves it.