February 23, 2018 Friday (Week I of Lent)
Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 130; Matthew 5:20-26
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? Ezekiel 18:25
We get angry with God. We blame him when things go wrong. He understands that. But today our
Father asks us, are we really being fair?
God made people free; therefore, free to hurt others. So, ultimately, God is responsible when we do.
But what choice does he have? Free is free. If we are not free to do evil, we are not free. That would make God a liar.
Our Father sent Jesus, not to prevent, but to “take away the sins of the world.”
Our Father sent Jesus, not to take suffering out of the world, but to take it on himself. Jesus never promised his followers would not suffer; only that nothing would harm them.
They will put some of you to death. But not a hair of your head will perish! Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul… Whoever does not carry the cross cannot be my disciple… (Matthew 10:28; Luke 14:27, 21:16).
To “carry the cross” is to accept those consequences of the sin of the world that fall on our shoulders, and to make them redemptive by letting Jesus bear them with us.
ACTION: Ask how Jesus in you is responding to the Father through your greatest suffering.
PRAYER: “Father, if this cannot pass… your will be done” (Matthew 26:42).