St. Mark’s Lenten Thoughts, Friday in the Second Week of Lent

Lent Week Two—Friday

Psalm 69 Jeremiah 5:1-9 Romans 2:25-3:18 John 5:30-47

Early in my career I witnessed one of my co-workers getting chewed out by the boss. It was a thorough work-over, and my co-worker patiently let the boss wind down before saying, “You’re right to be upset, but I didn’t do it. It must have been someone else.” The boss pulled up short, nodded his head and with a glimmer in his eye said, “Well, I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t you. But I’m sure you’ve screwed something else up recently, so just take that butt-chewing and apply it where it belongs!”

My co-worker and I both had a good laugh at that one, because we both knew it was true. The boss didn’t know the half of it! Human beings can be beautiful and glorious creatures, but sometimes we need to be taken down a notch or two. Imagine if from the moment of our birth every prideful or envious thought that flashed across our minds, every careless or hurtful word that crossed our lips, and every damaging or self-serving action that we took was meticulously written down. Not one of us could bear the weight of our own ledger.

That’s what the apostle Paul is up to in chapter 3 of his letter to the Romans. In verses 11 – 18 he masterfully employs no less than eight Old Testament quotes (what the rabbis called “stringing pearls”) to drive home a singular point: “None is righteous, no, not one.” Fortunately for us, there is One who does not seek HIs own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him; One who bears the reproach that we deserve; One who bestows righteousness through faith as a pure and undeserved gift of grace.

We don’t carry the load of that ledger alone; He carries it for us. Our part is to lay it at the foot of the cross where He mercifully wipes it clean. Glory be to God!

Bob Ewing

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