The Fifth Sunday of Lent -Anticipating the Ongoing Work of Christ

Texts: Isaiah 43:16-24; Psalm 73; Phil 3:8-14; Luke 20:9-19

As we approach Easter we must remember the roots of Easter as being formed in the crucible of the Passover celebration. Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover and it is in the context of this significant celebration that the events of Easter take place. Passover is all about remembering the deliverance of the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. It is with this anticipation that Isaiah prophecies that something far greater and more significant is coming.

I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!

The backdrop of the Passover is the perfect setting for Christ to deliver the world from the penalty of death.

Yet, it is with sober judgement that we must listen to Jesus’ story about the farmer. It is far too easy to reject the “cornerstone” of our faith when we forget that our very breath is a gift of God. What we have on this earth is leased from the Creator to whom we belong. Our belonging is an interesting subject. The Heidelberg Catechism picks up this theme in its first question.

Q. What is my only hope in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ…

(I’ve written more about this here.)

When we lose the perspective that we are redeemed from the slavery of sin and are mercifully adopted as Christ’s brothers and sisters as heirs, there is a temptation to think that we are the ones in control; that we are the people who are in charge of our own destiny. Psalm 73 provides us the words to understand our belonging is firmly in the hands of God. The Father is holding our hands guiding us through this life journey.

Be careful of living a life of independence apart from the fellowship of the community of faith. The reality is that we are constantly needing this reminder because the temptation to be self-sufficient. The reality is that I echo Paul’s words when he admits that a complete surrender to God’s direction and provision is something that needs constant attention. We can do this when we keep eternity our hands in the grasp of the Father and our eyes fixed on the “heavenly prize” to which God is calling us.

I’m starting this devotional series to provide an inspirational thought for worship leaders to use in connection with the Christian Worship Three Year Lectionary published by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.