3rd Wednesday of Lent
Christ, the Son
Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!
And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
Tonight we consider the next title of Jesus, He is the Son. For Jesus this was a favorite way of referring to Himself. We heard how He confronted Judas about his treachery. He said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Luke 22:48
A couple of weeks ago we heard how Jesus was tempted. He was tempted to act irrationally and out of character in order to defend this very title. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3).
God, the Father tells us to believe that Jesus properly carries this title. Both at Jesus baptism and at His glorious transfiguration the booming voice of God from heaven proclaimed, “This is my Son.” (Matthew 3:17 & Luke 9:35)
Many of the parables Jesus told had to do with his title as God’s Son. He told once how a master lent out his vineyard to some tenants. “ When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants[c] to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” (Matthew 21:33-39) In saying this, Jesus predicted that, just as they had disrespected the servants of God sent to them in the past, so these people that He was sent to now, would reject and crucify Him.
In tonight’s passion reading, we hear how our Lord Jesus, the Son, was obedient to the Father’s will and went for His Father into suffering and death. That obedience is what makes the gospel possible. Jesus the Son of God obeyed His Father’s will, suffering and dying for the sins of the world, for your sins and mine.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
This relationship back and for the between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – three persons; one God -- is a great mystery to us. But we are told enough about it so that we can understand and believe the Gospel.
And God created us in such a way that we can relate to Him and have some idea of what it is like. Some of us get to be fathers. Some of us have sons. And all of us, because of the way we were made, have some sort of a parent. We know what it is like for parents to love their children, and for children to obey their parents.
To some extent we can relate. Of course we don’t have perfect, divine family relationships. So the problem is, comparing ourselves to Jesus, the way He was an obedient Son, can only be frustrating. If we examine ourselves under the 4th commandment, we will daily come up short.
In fact, it’s in the relationship we have with our parents that will reveal our failures and shortcomings more so than the other relationships we have. You can get pretty good at hiding your flaws and your problems from your peers, maybe even from your siblings. But your parents know you well. They’ve been there as you’ve grown up. They know what kind of tantrums you’re capable of. They know how you can disappoint and embarrass the very people you should be making proud.
And that’s just our earthly parents. What about or heavenly Father, who brought us into this world and to whom we will ultimately have to answer.
Jesus said, , "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
What a contrast that prayer is from our prayers! Too often we pray, “Thy will be done” and it is not a pious request but a guilty confession, because we have been living, acting, thinking, like His will didn’t matter that much, and all that mattered was my will, my glory, my pleasure.
But here’s the thing. The Father’s giving of His Son is just for this. It’s just for you. The Son’s obedience all the way to the cross is for your sin and for your forgiveness.
You have not kept the 4th commandment. The good news is that Jesus did. So in Jesus you will become righteous.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
“In Him” – By believing in Him, by being baptized in Him, by Him wrapping us into His holy arms and holding us in His pierced hands, we become the righteousness of God that He has for us.
Be encouraged by these titles of Jesus. Admit that you are not all that you should be. Believe that in Him and in His perfect Sonship, you are being brought to heavenly perfection.
Use this tile of Jesus in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. Pray like this:
“Dear Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, forgive me for all the ways I’ve failed to be an obedient child of my earthly parents and heavenly Father. Let me into your righteousness, as I come to you in your word, in my baptism and in your Holy Communion. Lend me your obedience, your righteousness, so that I can rightfully claim a spot with you as the Heavenly Father’s pride and joy.”