Readings for the Third Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 33:7-20; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9
March has been a rough month for Nebraskans. The blizzards from a few weeks ago have given way to catastrophic flooding, loss of lives and livelihoods. In times like this, there is a natural human tendency to seek comfort in simplistic explanations of our own imagining. Why him? Why her? Why me, Lord? God must be angry with someone (me?). Why else would He allow this to happen?
When God’s Son was asked to comment on the disasters of his day, he rejected the false comfort of such human-centered thinking. Instead, he called all people – the fortunate and unfortunate alike – to turn away from sin and entrust themselves to the God of Life. The tragedy that falls upon my neighbor today might just fall upon me tomorrow. This is not cause for despair or resignation. This is cause for repentance and faith. “Though its waters roar and foam…the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Ps 46)” And, of course, it is cause for action – to be the helping hands and feet of our loving Savior (Lk 13).
Don’t miss the major theme of all three readings for Sunday. In the midst of warnings about judgment and temptations, God remains true to His gracious character. He takes no pleasure in our death. He wants us to live. To that end God has a short memory when it comes to our sins (Ek 33). And He is faithful when we are tempted. He will always come to our aid (1Cor 10). Look for Jesus in the patient vinedresser of the Gospel parable. The fruit of our repentance is born out of his merciful care (Lk 13).