Revised Common Lectionary - Year C: Third Sunday in Lent - Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9
God has given His promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty.’
The Word of God is spoken – ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found…’(Isaiah 55:6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God’s promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty’(Isaiah 55:11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize – ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts…’(Isaiah 55:8-9). We may be feeling very despondent – ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything’(Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘You shall go out with joy…’(Isaiah 55:12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord’s promise: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy…’(Psalm 126:5-6). We must not ‘judge before the time…’(1 Corinthians 4:5).
The Lord is ‘my Rock and my Salvation.’
The Lord is ‘my Rock and my Salvation’(Psalm 62:2,6). As you read the Psalmist’s words, let your thoughts turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our ‘Rock’- the ‘Rock’of our salvation. Through ‘the blood of Christ’, we receive the greatest ‘blessing’ of all – salvation (1 Corinthians 10:1-4,16). No other blessing can ever compare with the joy of knowing Christ as Saviour: ‘Your steadfast love is better than life.’ Through our great Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ – , we are learning to ‘praise’God. We are learning to say, with the Psalmist, ‘I will praise You as long as I live’(Psalm 63:3-4). What a great Saviour we have. He is greater than all our songs of praise. He is ‘too marvellous for words’- ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’(Mission Praise, 788; 2 Corinthians 9:15).
Participate ‘in Christ’ – not only in ‘the Church’!
‘Participation in the blood of Christ… participation in the body of Christ’(1 Corinthians 10:16): There is nothing more important than this. We are not to be spectators, standing on the side lines, watching what’s going on without ever getting involved. We are to be participants, getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in our love for Him, strengthening our faith in Him, bringing more glory to Him. We eat bread. We drink wine. We remember Jesus Christ, ‘the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us’. We do not only remember this great event from the past. We participate in Christ here and now. He has brought us out of our old life – ‘I have been crucified with Christ’ – and into His new life – ‘It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me’(Galatians 2:20). Participate ‘in Christ’ – not only in ‘the Church’!
Don’t put if off until tomorrow! Today is ‘the day of salvation.’
Jesus stresses the need for both repentance (Luke 13:1-5) and the fruits of repentance (Luke 13:6-9). God’s Word, planted in our hearts at conversion, is to bear fruit. This requires continual repentance and faith (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 3:1-5). Don’t put it off until tomorrow! Today is ‘the day of salvation’. Don’t ‘neglect’God’s ‘great salvation’(Luke 13:15-16; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 2:3). Let there be spiritual growth, affecting the whole of your life (Luke 13:18-21). Jesus was ‘journeying toward Jerusalem’- to ‘finish His course’at the Cross (Luke 13:22,32-33). He came from the Lord (Luke 13;35). Through Him, we come to the Lord (Luke 13:24; John 10:9). There is no salvation in ourselves (Luke 13:25-27). Apart from Him, there is ‘no peace’(Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). Jesus loves you (Luke 13:34). Make ‘sure’ that your trust is in Him. He will never fail you (2 Peter 1:10-11).