Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 49:29-50:7,14-26; Mark 14:1-11

Vindicate me, O God, And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! (Psalm 43:12 from the Introit for Lent 5)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If anyone could be judged as right against the accusations of evil men, it's surely Jesus. He was betrayed by His own friend, denied by His own disciples, falsely accused by His own people, and wrongly condemned by the governor. And yet on Good Friday it seems as if this prayer is not answered. Christ does not appear to be vindicated or judged righteous. It seems the unjust men win. It "seems". When He says, "It is finished," the sins of the world have been paid for. And when Jesus rises on Easter, we can certainly say that His death worked. His work of saving us is really accomplished and true.

Now, the unjust man, the devil, will try to deceive and accuse you. He will try to convince you that you are guilty, unrighteous, and worthy of death. He will accuse you based on your sins and that would be correct, except for Jesus.

This weekend as we pray the words of the Introit, "Judica! Judge me, O God; Vindicate Me, O God," we are asking the Lord to speak on our behalf and not reply to these accusations of the devil. In the Divine Service, the sign of the cross made in remembrance of your Baptism is the vindication we pray for. The judgment that you are righteous is declared in the Absolution. The Gospel preached says the Lord counts you as "not guilty" for Jesus' sake. The Body and Blood of Jesus say that you are forgiven and holy in Him.

That's what it means to be "vindicated." It's not that you somehow showed God that you are good or worthy. Rather, it means you are in Christ who has taken your sins and shields you from all accusations. In Him, the judgment of God for you is all good and blessed. When the unjust man would accuse you, you can simply set before him the blessed gifts of Christ's Cross and empty tomb and His water, Word, and Supper. And so you are vindicated and set free. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

If my sins give me alarm And my conscience grieve me, Let Your cross my fear disarm; Peace of conscience give me. Help me see forgiveness won By Your holy passion. If for me He slays His Son, God must have compassion. (Jesus, I Will Ponder Now, LSB 440:5)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.