QUINQUAGESIMA – SUNDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 26:1-13
The next day, he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
In many people, the passion of Christ arouses little more than sympathy. They lament and bemoan the fact that He suffered innocently. A great multitude of women followed Jesus near the end of His public ministry “who bewailed and lamented him.” Jesus tried to set them right when He said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28).
Along these lines, many make rather wide excursions during the passion season. They make a lot of the sad farewell of Jesus from His friends at Bethany, with rather liberal portions of the pains and sorrows of the Virgin, but they hardly get any further than this. In this way, Christ’s passion is inordinately delayed so that God only knows whether it was thought up to put men to sleep rather than to keep them awake. In this same group we must place those who teach that much benefit is derived during the passion season from various holy exercises, fasts, and special devotions.
If we are not reminded of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf in all this, it becomes nothing but an unfruitful work, no matter how good and worthy it may be in itself. What does it help you for God to be God if He is not God for you? What use is there in the healthiness and goodness of eating and drinking if it is not healthy for you? This is exactly the situation in regard to special Lenten exercises when men do not seek the correct benefit from them.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, instruct our faith so that we always view your passion as a suffering for us and on our behalf, a work of love which you assumed as our Savior and Redeemer. Amen.