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Sixth Saturday in Lent Devotion

How Much is Enough?                                      Sixth Saturday in Lent - March 27, 2021

“Jesus looked at His disciples and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”  (Matthew 19:26) 

LSB 425 – When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

(Verse 4 of this week’s hymn served as inspiration for today’s devotion.)

At various times in the Gospels, people come up to Jesus and ask Him the big question:  “What must I do to be saved?”  They are looking for the path to eternal life.  They are expecting a concrete answer, a list, a hidden scripture passage from the Old Testament…something!  “Jesus, just tell me something to do and I’ll do it,” is their mindset. 

But, wait…what if they’re asking the wrong question?  People ask this question in expectation of getting an assignment.  Do this, do that.  But what does Scripture say is the list of requirements for getting ourselves into heaven?  Jesus mentions this in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Oh, ok…so we set out to follow this idea, we mis-hear the words of today’s hymn verse, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”  Ok, I’ll do what is demanded of me.  But what if it’s not enough?  What if we can’t be perfect?

…and we can’t.  Our efforts may be halfhearted; they may be our best.  In any case, it’s not enough.  Our sinfulness trips us up every time.  The disciples were confronted with this in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew.  After watching Jesus deal with a rich young man who turns away from Him, they get real quiet.  After watching this encounter end without satisfaction, they see themselves reflected in coming up short.  They ask Jesus the RIGHT question – if we, in our sin, don’t and can’t measure up, who can possibly be saved?  They are left exactly where the Law leaves us every time; condemned and lost.  Jesus’ response reframes the scene, “…with GOD, all things are possible.”  Who lived the perfect life?  Who kept the commandments?  Who fulfilled the requirements?  Not us, but Jesus.  Furthermore, He then takes the blessings and benefits of His victorious death and resurrection and gives them to us!  We can’t save ourselves; but, God can and does save us!  Receiving that amazing word of Gospel, we burst forth in the words of the fourth verse of our hymn.  We sing not to earn the Kingdom, but in response to being included by God’s actions and His grace.  “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small.  Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!”  Not because it was possible by our actions, but because God accomplished the necessary task on our behalf.

Prayer

Dearest Lord Jesus, thank you for fulfilling the requirements for our salvation.  Thank you for your perfect, sinless life, your holy death, and your victorious resurrection, through which you bestow on us eternal life.  Keep us as your own for time and eternity; and accept the praise we bring you through our lives and our lips, in response to your great undeserved goodness toward us.  In Your name, Amen. 

Rev. John Greene – Grace Lutheran Chapel