Reflections: The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Today’s Reading: John 8:46-59

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 1:1-22; Mark 14:12-31 

[Jesus said,] “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
(John 8:51) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Do you ever think that terrible things can’t happen to you? Car accidents may happen to other people, but not to you. Horrible illnesses may happen to other people, but not to you. Bullies may take advantage of other people, but not of you. The devil and your own sinful mind tempt you to believe that you’re invincible and that nothing can hurt you. But the truth is different from that. The truth is that bad things will happen to you since you live in this sinful world. One of those bad things, according to your human perspective, is death. 

But Jesus makes a bold statement: If you keep His Word, you will not see death. If you keep Jesus’ Word, you are invincible. This isn’t just the hopefulness of a young person, but the promise of the fully incarnate God in the flesh. When Jesus says that you will never see death, He means it. That can be hard to wrap your head around today. We are drawing closer and closer to Good Friday. Some churches have a special focus on the Cross and the Passion of Jesus for the next two weeks. And that’s right, since we preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23). Jesus died and has given you His Word so that you will never see death. 

But that conflicts with common sense, doesn’t it? It seems that everyone dies. But Jesus promises that those who keep His Word won’t see death. So do you believe in your common sense, or do you believe Jesus? Whatever your common sense says, Jesus declares that you are invincible in Him, because “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). You live in Jesus Christ, because He has made it so. He is your Lord, the One who rules over all things and calls you His very own. He has promised that you will never see eternal death because of His goodness and mercy for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent)

-Rev. Peter Ill is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.