Jesus Rescues Us From God’s Law
These are the readings for the Third Sunday in Lent.
God’s Word for This Week
For centuries Christians have spent Lent meditating on Jesus’ suffering and death, which atoned for our guilt. Lent is the “serious season” of the church year in which we put extra emphasis on recognizing and confessing our own sins. Congregations with special mid-week services usually keep a somber, reflective tone. The Sundays in Lent, however, serve as “mini Easters”; their readings and hymns bring comfort to the believers who are reflecting on their sins and Jesus’ passion. The third Sunday in Lent reminds us of God’s perfect law and his demand that we fear and love him. Thankfully, Jesus has fulfilled God’s law in our place.
FIRST LESSON – Exodus 20:1–17
Why does God remind the Israelites that he brought them out of Egypt before giving the Ten Commandments?
The holy God who demands we keep his commandments wants love and trust from his children. His law cannot instill that love and trust. Only his gospel can. By reminding the Israelites of how he rescued them from Egypt, he is putting in the forefront of their mind his love and mercy. That rescue from Egypt reminds us that the same holy God sent Jesus to rescue us from our sin.
Since God already put his commandments on our hearts, why did he etch them on stone (and in the Bible) for us?
Our own sin and the sin around us combine to darken and callous our hearts, so we need God’s law written down―in detail―for us so we know exactly what his will is.
SECOND LESSON – 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
How is ‘Christ crucified’ foolishness to many people?
Later in this letter Paul explains that people don’t naturally understand or believe in Jesus, but only by the Holy Spirit can people recognize God’s wisdom in sending Jesus. Without the Holy Spirit, the message of Jesus dying on a cross to save us makes no sense. With the Holy Spirit, we see God’s wisdom and love in providing the perfect Savior.
What is the essence of a Christian’s message to the world?
“Christ crucified” is the heart of the gospel. The only way sinners can stand before a holy God is if their sins are removed. The only way sins are removed is by Christ being crucified for us.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECOND LESSON – Romans 8:1–10
Were you born neutral toward God and his commands? Or even favorable toward them? (See verse 7.)
No. We were all born hostile to God. We did not submit to God’s law. We could not.
How much does God blame you in his courtroom now? (See verse1.)
You are completely innocent in God’s courtroom, because of Jesus’ blood. There is no condemnation for all who are in Christ Jesus. None.
GOSPEL – John 2:13–22
Why do you think the Jewish leaders allowed the buying and selling of animals in the temple courts?
The Jewish leaders let people buy and sell in the temple courts, presumably, because those who sold animals and changed money made a profit. Nothing should disturb God’s people from hearing God’s Word, though, or coming to God in prayer and praise in thanks for God’s mercies.
How do you know that Jesus was not sinning by angrily overturning the tables and driving out the money changers?
Jesus was not sinning, because what was at stake was the glory and honor of God. His temple was to be a place for worship. But isn’t anger always sin? No. God the Father “expresses his wrath every day,” but never sins (Psalm 7:11). Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He could not.
Why are Jesus’ words in verse 19 significant?
In John 2:19 our Savior predicted his own resurrection from the dead. When he fulfilled his promise, he proved he truly is God and keeps his Word. That truth gives us sinners hope and comfort. Only God can save us; Jesus is God. He has rescued us! (See Romans 4:25.)