Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 4:19-31; Mark 15:16-32

"Then you say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, 'Let my son go that he may serve Me.' If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.'" (Exodus 4:23-24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What kind of God is this? He threatens to kill the firstborn of Egypt. Then, because Moses is not circumcised, He goes after Moses, trying to kill him? He saves Israel, but then when they sin in the wilderness, He punishes them! Who is this awful God?

People think God is a big, cuddly, lovable, Santa-Claus-like God who wants us all to sit on His lap. They see Him as a God who sees us and our sins and says, "I can't get enough of them! Even though they sin! I just can't stop loving them!"

NO! This is how God is: He's an all-consuming fire. He hates sin. And He hates sinners. No one stands safe before Him. He doesn't do teams--you either obey Him or you die. Even Moses, the guy who speaks for Him, isn't safe if he doesn't obey.

Scared yet? You should be! Be scared of God. Fear Him. Don't just fear your sins. Be frightened of the God who will toss you into the eternal death of hell because of them.

Then comes Jesus, the first-born, only-begotten Son of God. He does an Israel-in-Egypt in the wilderness. He faithfully fears God the way He should be feared. He does all that this angry God commands.

On the Cross, Jesus takes on our sins, becomes our sins, to save us. He suffers all the anger, wrath, hatred, want-to-kill-sinners-ness of Almighty God. God finally gets hold of the worst sinner of all time and slays His Son.

We are saved by Jesus from God. Think about that. We needed saving from the God who created us. That's how much we couldn't save ourselves! Jesus must save you from God!

So, if your friends start saying that they don't like the God that you believe in because of some stuff He does like throw people into hell, you tell them you are afraid of that God, too. Jesus has saved you from that God. He only kills to make alive--to save you. You'll have to unpack that for them. That should be fun!

Today, give up the idea that you shouldn't be scared of God. You should! But also rejoice that in Jesus, you have been saved from your sins and from the wrath of God. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

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