Thoughts Before Lent…
Very soon we in the church will enter into the season of Lent. Traditionally, Lent is the forty days before Easter where we take time to ponder the road that Jesus takes to the cross. We ponder our humanity, our sin and brokeness, but also where the healing and grace of God meet that sin. In his person, Jesus embodied the promise of God- that God will sent a Savior for his people. A Savior that, as Isaiah puts it:
…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
We might expect a glitzy and glorious Savior, but we get one who doesn’t look like much, and whose most faithful followers where fisherman, tax collectors, and “notorious” sinners. For us, that is good news because we can fit right in. But today, I wonder about Jesus’ heart and if these famous words by Robert Frost describe how Jesus could have felt when he began his road to the cross.
But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Did Jesus feel the weariness of the promise? What kept him going and gave him hope? Is it the same thing that gives us hope- that God is faithful and keeps his promises. That God, in all of his passion, power, and compassion, has never forgot his people? The road for Jesus, as painted by Isaiah, is one that is marked by brokenness, blood, and loneliness but is outlined the grace and the promise of restoration, and always, always is a gift that comes to us:
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
This year, as we walk the road to the cross during Lent, let us do so pondering the gift that Jesus truly is to us. Perhaps we take the time to ponder these words of Isaiah and spend some time in Jesus’ heart.