Kruiz edited
Be With Jesus
Monday of Lent 3
5 March 2018
Christ has freed us to follow Him. We want to be with Jesus. Who wouldn't desire that? That is the craving of every faithful Christian. How we yearn to follow Jesus! Our hearts overflow with joy that He invites us on the Lenten exodus up to Jerusalem where He passes through death to the Promised Land. He cuts a path for us leading us through the surging waters of trial and trouble looming ominously over us. He becomes the Passover victim from whom we eat in the meal of fellowship and forgiveness on Holy Thursday. We follow Him into the darkness of the Garden where He agonizes and sets His heart upon the hard work that the Father has set out for Him. We pursue Him when the Twelve scatter. The beatings that He receives without a complaint reverberate in our hearts. We witness Him falling under the great burden. We envy Simon of Cyrene whose shoulders are scraped raw by the tree of life while his blood is mingled with that life-giving blood of the Lamb of God. We watch the shattering blows that drive the dreaded spikes into the pure hands that were made only to bless. We feel the jarring jerk upon the sinews of His arms as the cross bar of His suffering is affixed atop the deadly pole.
What could possibly have caused this scene? What human failing could have led us to this hill? What burden have these pristine arms stretched out to receive? Who has done this to this Man? If we have been truly watching and listening as we follow this Man, we will know that we are the reason and our sin is the cause. He leads us out of our own death and despair when He parts the waters of death by raising the rod of His cross.
If we are to follow this Man we must own our sin and admit the cause of His death. This following of the crucified Man is not like the "Jungle Cruise" at Disney World, in which mock jungle dangers emerge to threaten cruisers and then slide back into the water with mechanical efficiency at just the right moment. We cannot walk along with the serene confidence that we are not really involved, as though we could watch the pageant of His death as a passion play staged for our edification. The believer who is freed by Him also takes up His cross and follows Him.
If you are close enough to see, you are close enough to be spattered with the blood poured out for sinners. You are close enough to hold the sledge hammer driving the nails. You are close enough to trace the veins of His delicate hands now oozing the liquid of life. You are close enough to hear his rasping breath as He promises eternal life to all sinners, "Today you shall be with me." No, this is not a morality play or a tragedy played out for our instruction in piety. If we follow Him we are in Him and with Him, we die with Him that we might be raised with Him. This must never be reduced to entertainment or a symbol of something else. Because if we are counted with Him on that Day, we shall be with Him when days will not be counted.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"This is what Paul says to the Philippians (Phil 2:5-8): Oh, dear brothers, your attitude should be like that of Christ, who did not exalt himself in the form of God, even though He could be equal with the Father, but emptied himself and utterly lowered Himself,and took on the form of a servant, and was found in every degree and way a man and like a man, like him even in that He died for the sake of obedience to His Father. Note, dear friends of Christ, what an excellent and profound saying that is. We should all be equal. For He speaks, not as a mere man, but as one in whom is the form of God, the very presence of power, honor, righteousness, wisdom, piety, and purity, who never did evil, who is full of every good even in his humanity, who desired to be equal with us, not with God, not like Lucifer who desired to snatch the image of God, nor like the proud, who so look down on their neighbors that they can scarcely recognize them as grasshoppers. This Christ did not do: He put off the form of God and was found in the form of man, in sinful flesh, although He never sinned; nor could He ever sin. So, He became a fool, the object of mockery, reproach, and derision by all the people. He bore our misfortune, and in Him were found all the titles of our poverty. And this He did in order that we might freely follow him." 

 Martin Luther, Sermon on the Man Born Blind
Psalm 70

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire my hurt! Let them turn back because of their shame who say, "Aha, Aha!" May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, "God is great!" But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay! (ESV)
Merciful and everlasting God, you did not spare Your only Son but delivered him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For Adelin Jean Haak, who was placed into the death and life of Christ in holy baptism yesterday, that the God who pledged Himself to her in His word would grant grace and every blessing

For all those who work in jobs that require their labor in dangerous circumstances, that the holy angels would watch over them
For all fathers, that they may be strengthened in their tasks of leading their families in godliness and raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
For all pastors and church workers who are leading and participating in Lenten services, that they might have the strength to lead God's people and the discipline to follow in the steps of the Master
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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