The Third Sunday in Lent

Sunday, March 3, 2024

 

“The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:18–31)

I can still hear the street preacher interrogating a young man bearing a brightly colored mohawk and wearing a studded jacket covered in spray painted letters. “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” The judgmental tone of the inquiry implied that he was less interested in hearing the young man’s answer and more concerned being heard himself. In reality, the question itself is flawed – where we spend eternity plays second fiddle to with whom we spend eternity. Our end goal is not heaven, our final hope is standing in Christ’s holy presence – the promise of an eternity spent WITH our God “who art in heaven.”  If our faithfulness in our journey with Jesus was graded by how well we’ve kept the Ten Commandments in today’s Old Testament lesson – none of us would receive passing marks. However, thankfully God judges us by the emptiness of the old, rugged cross and the tomb that couldn’t contain the Resurrection. The apostle Paul says it best today: “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18–31) Our salvation in Christ defies logic for those try to make sense of it before they want to believe, but makes sense only by God’s grace to those embrace the adventure of being steward to these great mysteries. The street preacher was taken aback when the young punk, turned around and responded, “I know I’ll be with Jesus, do you?” He had assumed, incorrectly, based on the young man’s outward appearance that he was inwardly disinterested and ignorant to God’s grace. The young punk was the son of a pastor, raised in faith, and actively pursuing studies to serve in full-time ministry too.  It’s easy to get hung up on seeing and judging the world through the lens of the Law, and folly to live out the Gospel that redeems it. As we worship, and you go about your week:

  1. Pray for eyes of grace and mercy to see the world as Jesus does.
  2. Take those extra moments in devotional studies to loose yourself in the wonder of these mysteries of grace we’re called to be stewards of.
  3. Reach out to that person you’ve maybe misjudged or misunderstood to engage and get to know them better.

If we were to die tonight, do we know who we would spend eternity with? The obvious answer is “Jesus,” which is true, but as far as those saints beside us in that “great cloud of witnesses” I think we’ll be surprised by who else is there. And thank God for that! 

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