Lent Devotion for April 11
Reader: "He was despised and rejected."
Response: "A man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27:20-23
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”
The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
Reader: “The word of the Lord."
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
After reading these two passages, what do you think is at the core of rejection of the Messiah? Why didn’t the people care? (Isaiah) Why were they so hostile? (Matthew) Earlier we read how (1) Jesus spoke with authority, not like the other teachers of the law. Within the human heart is the clear desire to answer to no one. All our hearts say, “I will do as I will. I am in charge of me.” Jesus’ authority challenged the heart to submit. The result was serious resistance then and now. (2) Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Shining light on inconsistency was not well received! Who are you to call me a hypocrite? (3) The lack of caring comes from the fact that “I don’t want someone intruding into my life. I will ignore that person’s claims about how my life could be lived. I want nothing to do with them and I want them to stay away from me. (4) My anger and hatred of that person comes from their pointing out my sin to me. I don’t want to hear what God thinks. I don’t want to be told I am wrong. I don’t want my sin being pointed out and I resent very strongly anyone telling me such. I must say, we find these very attitudes in our culture today as people try to reinterpret the Scriptures on the one hand, or on the other hand, dismiss the Word of God altogether. There is hostility toward Christianity, make no mistake. Those who reject Christ, are often annoyed at Christians because, here is someone who did bow before the Savior, which reminds them that there are those who do follow Christ. It says to them that not everyone has their perspective of rejecting Christ and that in itself is condemning in their minds. The Christian has accepted Jesus’ perspective and rejected their worldly view. In Isaiah, the phrase, “a man of sorrows, acquainted with the deepest grief” speaks of the pain of taking the weight of our sin upon himself and the ensuing heavy grief. Having been pure and holy from all eternity and then to bear the weight of the sin of the world would bring to Jesus an agony we cannot imagine. Being rejected is one of the more difficult things to grasp. Add to that hostility, with the desire to kill, is very hard to comprehend, especially in Jesus’ case, when the whole purpose was to bring redemption to the very people who screamed for His death.
Yes, I would say our loving Savior was a man of sorrows and acquainted with the deepest grief there ever was. Be a light where you walk today; we do care.
MUSIC: "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs” by Matthew Curtis, vocals by Fen Frehner
God of mercy, you sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost. We confess that we have strayed from you and turned aside from your way. We are misled by pride, for we see ourselves pure when we are stained and great when we are small. We have failed in love, neglected justice, and ignored your truth. Have mercy, O God, and forgive our sin. Return us to paths of righteousness through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
–The Worship Source Book, p.563., #8