The Third Sunday Before Lent
Staying Sensitive to Grace
It is very easy to become desensitized to things that we should be sensitive to. Do you know what I mean by this? We have this example when we’re watching TV and the once loud volume doesn’t seem to be loud enough anymore. We’ve become desensitized to the volume.
We too easily become desensitized to what we say and what we allow ourselves to hear and what we allow ourselves to see and what we allow ourselves to think when we should be very sensitive to them. One of the things our reading reminds us what we become desensitized to is this: the sin of grumbling. Grumbling which is but the putrid odor of our distrust in God. The sad thing about our reading and our lives? God had the situation covered, as He always does. He wasn’t leading His people into a trap. Repent.
For our Repentance
And He is especially teaching about His grace, the way in which we are seen by God for Jesus’ sake, the forgiveness of our sins, the peace that God has with us through Christ. If there is one thing that we need to be more sensitive about, it is about His grace.
We can become too used to hearing that our sins are forgiven, that we become not all that bothered by our sins anymore. We can become too used to hearing that Jesus loves me, that our reply can be, “Hey that’s great! I love me, too! Jesus and I are on the same page!” We can become so caught up in how we’re trying to live a good life, how we’re trying to come to church, how we’re trying to serve our family and neighbors, how we’re trying to pray, how we made a decision for Jesus, how we’re trying to love God with our whole hearts, that we begin to think that we actually deserve our Lord’s grace. It would be only fair that I would receive forgiveness of my sins because I’m trying and I go to church whereas that person certainly isn’t trying at all (Do you see how they treat others? Do you see how immature they are?) and that person over there hates God and that person over there ignores God and when was the last time that person was in church and how much has that person tithed this year anyway.
For our Comfort
You want fair? Then face God without Christ bearing your sins on the cross. Face God with your face full of sins, of breaking the Law and despising His order. See where you stand then. We want fair? Let’s try and earn God’s approval by our own life and love. We will miserably fail. Think your lot in life and what you’ve received is not fair? Hell is what we deserve and let’s compare what we have in this life with that. What Jesus wants is for us to stop asking for fairness for ourselves, stop treating others and asking that others get what they deserve, and start asking for mercy for ourselves and others.
And you know what? That is exactly how the kingdom of God works. You are not judged according to your sins, but according to His great mercy. It is God who has made your way blameless by placing blame upon His Son.
You know where you are in the parable? We’re the ones that get hired on at the end of the day and get paid a whole day’s wages. That is, we get credit for the work of Another and that other is Christ Himself. He went to work in the first hour by being beaten and shamed to cover our shame. In the third hour, our Jesus was crucified for us, at the sixth hour He was suffering fully in body and soul that which we deserved for, at the ninth hour He was crying out, “It is finished,” and at the eleventh hour He had been taken down from the cross and in the grave. The work of your peace, the work of your salvation, had all been done and it was all done by the eleventh hour where come in only to receive the reward and benefits for which He worked for us.