Bible Readings and Devotion for September 28, 2020
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Devotion for September 28, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
It is so central, yet it is also so hard to accept. It is something which we hear about all the time and sometimes we forget about its immense importance.
In 1991 I worked as a cabin counselor at Lutheran Memorial Camp between Fulton and Marengo, Ohio. At this church camp in Ohio we offered a “Passion Walk” for the Junior High campers. This was a dramatic presentation of the events of Holy Week. There were scenes set up around the camp showing Palm Sunday through the Resurrection. I portrayed a Pharisee, and later a mean member of the crowd. The kids would become very engrossed in the story, for they had likely never seen it like this before. Many would cry to see their hero Jesus die. I would hear adults talk about this Passion Walk from when they were at camp years earlier. Likely they, too, had trouble accepting the death of their friend and teach Jesus when they were campers.
At least three times in the Gospel books Jesus offers a prediction of his suffering, death and resurrection. Some of the times he does this we have record of the reaction of the disciples. They were shocked and surprised. They did not want their leader to die. In Matthew 16:22b, we read, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” It is almost as if they knew what must happen, but they, including Peter, were afraid of what it might mean for them and for their fellowship.
Death is hard. Nobody wishes their closest associates to die. Even with the promise of the resurrection, that Jesus would die is hard.
Sin is hard. We are not supposed to sin. Knowing that God loves us and wants the best for us, we do not wish to sin. We know what Jesus went through – see above paragraphs – as he fulfilled his predictions. We didn’t make him die. Rather, God chose to address the problem of human sin, once and for all, by his own action.
Death is hard. Sin is hard. Even greater than these hard and unpleasant things is the immeasurable and immense love of God for us. His solution was to meet us in the midst of sin, to forgive us, to lead us out of sin and death, and into life now and forever as his beloved children. It was a hard thing for him to endure for us. Life is better and not so hard now because of the hard thing he did for us.
Almighty God, by our baptism into the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, you turn us from the old life of sin. Grant that we who are reborn to new life in him may live in righteousness and holiness all our days, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen