Reflections: Friday the First Week of Lent

March 3, 2023 

Today’s Reading: 

Daily Lectionary:Gen. 13:1-18, Mark 5:1-20 

As (Jesus) was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (St. Mark 5:18–20) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes people think that the best way to serve Jesus is to go overseas on a mission trip. Certainly, foreign missions are an integral part of spreading the Gospel, but they aren’t for everyone. Our long-term missionaries make a tremendous commitment when they move to a foreign land to preach the Gospel. Thanks be to God for them! 

Jesus stays local today. He heals the man possessed with demons and tells him to stay home and tell his friends and neighbors what Jesus had done for him. Sometimes, that’s the hardest thing to do. You see these people all the time. They see you all the time. They know you inside and out. 

Maybe you think they won’t listen to what you have to say because they know your failures. Maybe you think they’ll stop being your friends because of what you say. Not all of us have such a spectacular story to tell as this man: he went from living in a cave and wailing and breaking chains and cutting himself to ribbons with rocks to being a gentle, mild-mannered citizen once again. 

He probably thought, much like we do, that the same thing would happen to him. That no one would listen, that no one would appreciate what Jesus had done for him, so it would be easier to run away to a far country with Jesus to where life had to be better. 

But that’s not what he was given to do. The strength of our faith is its mundane and plain nature. That so much of it is…normal and boring. The day-to-day experience of our faith doesn’t have all the flash and magnificence that we often think it needs, and that’s okay. 

Because what you do have is Jesus. And he has done marvelous things in your life, even if you can’t see them. You were rescued from sin, death, and demons in your Baptism. Jesus feeds you his very self in Holy Communion, even if it looks rather bland. He speaks salvation into your ears every week. 

These are all magnificent and wonderful works, done for you. And you’ve been placed in exactly the right place to share that good news with others as Jesus has gifted you to do. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Come, celebrate, your banners unfurling, Your songs and prayers against the darkness hurling. To all the world go out and tell the story Of Jesus’ glory. (Rise, Shine, You People, LSB 825:3)

-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA  and the President of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.