Saturday of the Week of Lent I
Today’s readings: Deuteronomy 11:18-28; Hebrews 5:1-10; John 4:1-26
“Although He was a Son, he learned obedience through what He suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:8-10).
Two things are clear from this passage. We can learn obedience. Jesus alone was perfectly obedient.
I will admit, in all my years, I rarely hear sermons on “obedience.” I’ve heard lots of sermons on grace, forgiveness and mercy. Does preaching “obedience” negate preaching “grace?” Surely not.
Lutherans, of all people, ought to be familiar with what is referred to as the “three uses of the Law.” These have been debated, at times in Lutheranism, but as Dr. Jim Nestingen stated, “We all agree there is to be a new life in Christ!” He’s referring to the third use of the Law, sometimes defined as “call to obedience.” The first or civil use of the Law orders all human society—commanding us not to kill, steal, lie or commit adultery. The second use shows us our sin, that we cannot save ourselves by our own obedience, driving us to our need for the Savior. Now that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, we are called to obey. Obedience is not always easy. Learning obedience can involve suffering and pain—certainly self-denial. But we can learn obedience. It should happen in the home and in the family, but the entire life of the believer is one of learning obedience.
That being said, only Jesus was perfectly obedient. He became obedient unto death—even death on a cross—for us and for our salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your perfect obedience, for being the spotless Lamb of God. Amen.
Lenten Response: Take a cross from the wall—or a piece of jewelry—and hold it for five minutes, pondering Jesus’ death as an act of perfect obedience.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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