In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ is His journey to the cross. The Gospels are nothing more than the account of His suffering, death, and resurrection with prefaces. The whole Bible, even Moses, serves this same purpose: to uphold the re-ordering of creation, the demise of chaos, the defeat of Satan in the horrific death of God on the cross. It is a deliberate journey. Several times He tells the disciples it is necessary. It does not happen by chance. He causes it to happen. He will not let the devil win. The devil cannot keep creation. He must go and pay for his rebellion in Hell. The devil is no king. He is a liar, a pretender. He is sicker even than we. Nothing, not even Satan in Peter, not even Satan in Judas, can stop Jesus Christ from redeeming all mankind. He was anointed for this purpose: to be the Sacrifice, to rule from a killing throne, to proclaim men holy by taking on their sin and being victimized by their violence. He was born to die.
During Lent we seek to explore that mystery and to join that suffering. It is not that we have something to gain, not that sorrow is a gift – that is simply foolish talk and men playing games with words, for if we reinvent the meanings of words, what use is talking, and what good is theology? Rather it is that we, like Mary and John, would be with Jesus. We would be with Jesus even if it is at the cross, even if it means heartache and pain. We will not look away. We will gaze upon the horror and pray for mercy. We will dare to confront our guilt, our betrayal, our part in His sorrow and we will pray. Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God. Jesus spent eternity in Hell. But all things are possible with Him. So Hell is done. Eternity without end has ended. It is finished. Our prayers for Jesus – that He would be vindicated, that He would live – have been answered. The prophecies have come true. The hope of all men is met in Him and His resurrection! And His prayers for us – that we would be forgiven, that we would belong to Him, that we would be righteous – have been answered as well. Jesus lives.
God works all things for good, even evil things, even a shameful cursed death upon a tree. The present evils that assail you, cancer and adultery, office politics and lying bishops – will pass away. The death of Jesus Christ has ended the reign of death. Our dying, sorrow-filled days of frustration and fear will end. We will live. So we wait. We wait. If we are now emptied of ourselves, made ever more dependent upon God, ever more uncertain of the future or of our strength; if we learn to pray and cry our bitter tears and beg God for mercy night and day: thanks be to God. He is good. His mercy endureth forever. He has taught us to pray. He has taught us to bear the cross, to forget ourselves and our pride, to need Him more than we covet pleasures of the flesh. He has joined us to His suffering and s taught us to die, while we’ve learned to despise this dying life.
So, too, He will teach us to rise, to live, to walk and be free, to leave all sin behind and be the men of good courage He has called us to be. As the eyes of the servants look to the hand of their masters, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God until He has mercy on us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord. Have mercy upon us.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.