Reflections: Friday the Fourth Week of Lent

March 24,  2023

Today’s Reading:  

Daily Lectionary: Gen 47:1-31, Mark 13:24-37

Mark 13:37: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.””

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Stay awake. It’s ominous. It reads like a threat that isn’t even all that veiled. It leaves us looking to the Lord returning on the last day to catch us, not to save us. It’s actually not because of how it’s written. It’s because of us.  It’s because when we hear the Lord is near, it brings to the surface everything we don’t want Him to be around to confront. We expect the Lord to show up to judge the living and the dead in great power. But there’s a missing word there. 

But He promises to come in great glory too. So remember the hour in which the Son of Man was glorified.  It was the cross. Jesus bore it for you to forgive you all your sins. The Lord returns on the last day with the same glory. It’s mercy in action, applied to save you. He shows up with great power, the ability to rescue you from all that is in decay down here, even yourself, and glory as of the Son of God who loves to save sinners. 

So stay awake. It’s not a call to avoid being caught off-guard, but to remain faithful. Hopeful. And even that He does for you. In Word and Sacrament, God calls you out of sleep. Awake o sleeper. Rise from death, and Christ will shine on you. The last day is not a trap, but a blessed hope of all Christians, because here we join our Lord, at last, to fully see our freedom from sin and death. He has already delivered us in our Baptism. 

He has promised to keep us to that last great day. To remain awake is to cling to these promises. To pray, come Lord Jesus, with all the Church, and to know our future, and count it as a joy. Why would we flee that to hide from the pains of this world in vice and sin and darkness? We are called to stand firm against them knowing we don’t need to hide. We don’t need to self-medicate. We are given, every week, the medicine of life in the Body and Blood of Jesus. Stay awake. Gather around the gifts. It’s a call God makes to all. Let more sinners join us in the mercies of Christ made new every day. Let more find peace that endures to the last. Stay awake, because even now you have Christ.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

For us Christ lived, for us He died, And conquered in the strife; Awake, arise, go forth in faith, And Christ shall give you life (Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death (LSB 697:4)

– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for 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.