Old Hat Gospel

Before I get to the news, I wanted to share with you something from my morning devotions. Maybe you remember that I read from Luther each morning, and each of the readings focuses on a particular text from God’s Word. This morning, the text was from Isaiah 53:4, which reads: “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Luther offers so succinctly in connection: “These are powerful words. The sufferings of this king are our griefs and sorrows. He carries the burden which ought to be ours forever. The stripes and bruises which we have merited, namely, that we should suffer thirst and hunger, and die eternally, all this is laid in Him. His suffering avails for me and for you and for us all; for it was undertaken for our good.”

Luther has a way of cutting through any fog we might have when it comes to God’s Word. He’s right. The words are powerful. In a very short sentence, we are told that as Jesus suffered and eventually ended up on the cross, all our burdens were His to carry—both the natural consequences of a world coming undone in sin, but also the very real punishment we deserve because of our active disobedience. Jesus didn’t shrink from these things, but He embraced them, taking them into Himself and paying the price in our place.

This all sounds like old-hat Gospel, but each time I hear it, most especially before venturing out into a world wracked by these realities, it changes me. It changes my perspective on the people I run into, the people that I serve and the people that, in some ways, serve me. It helps me to realize that each and every person was on the Divine mind while He hung on the cross. It’s impossible to fully comprehend, but He was thinking of you. He was thinking of me. He was thinking of the people around us.

God willing, Lent is helping to calibrate our thoughts in such a way—that is, to know the actual cost for sin and death, so that we might be made ready to rejoice—to be truly joyful—in the Easter victory. This has been my prayer for you, and I know that God hears the prayers of His people.