“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast
We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!
Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.
You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.
Pastor David’s devotional for March 23, 2022
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
During my recent sermons I talked about the problem Paul begins describing in his letter to the church in Rome: Sin. Then beginning in chapter 3: verse 24 and following, he talks about the solution to sin: Grace. Think about his for a moment. Think about how different this is from the ways the world solves problems. In the world, when someone does something wrong, the solution is to punish the person so the person “will learn their lesson.” But Paul tells us that God’s solution is to respond with grace so the person will “do better and live a better life.” Reflect for a moment on the difference between responding to sin with punishment versus responding with grace.
I remember when I was a boy, I threw water balloons at a passing car. My Sunday School teacher was driving the car, although I didn’t know it at the time. She recognized me! The next time I saw her, it quickly become evident that she knew what I had done, and I quickly became certain I was going to get in trouble. However, instead of accusing me, she simply gave me a great big hug. At that moment I experienced forgiving grace, and it has stuck with me ever since! In your life, have you experienced grace at a time when you expected punishment? How did that impact you? Have you ever offered grace at a time when you could have chosen punishment? How did you feel?
Last Sunday, I began my sermon talking about the righteousness of God: God is a just God. God always does the right thing! Think of your highest ideal of goodness and that gives you a glimpse into the righteousness of God. Or look at Jesus life and you see the clearest revelation of God’s righteousness. What is it about Jesus’ life that you find most compelling?
Jesus does not just show us something of the righteousness of God. He was born into this world as a part of God’s righteous plan to help us live righteous lives. What is it about Jesus’ life that you would most like to emulate? Why?
In the sermon, I also talked about Atonement. Atonement is the name of the theology that tries to describe the meaning of Jesus crucifixion. In Romans, Paul points to 4 different ways for us to think about the meaning of the cross. He talked about Jesus’ death as paying a ransom—we are slaves to sin, the price to free us is death: Jesus pays the debt so we can be free. He talked about Jesus’ death as a sacrifice—his blood spilled as a once and for all atoning offering to God. He talked about Jesus’ death as justification—we are guilty of sin, but the judge imposed the penalty on himself (Jesus) instead of us. He talked about the Jesus’ death as a gift of love—Jesus arms outstretched to us; his cross becomes a bridge of love to reconcile us to God. All these ways of talking about the death of Jesus are meaningful and true. Together they point us toward the mystery of what God is willing to do to save us.
In his children’s books “The Chronicles of Narnia,” C. S. Lewis described the meaning of Jesus death by describing a magic the pre-dated creation itself: when someone who was innocent was sacrificed at the hands of evil, his innocence breaks the spell sin and evil have over us. The cross of Jesus is a powerful symbol for Christians. What does the cross mean to you?
When I look at the cross, I see the worst of humanity and the best of God. I see what human beings are willing to do to one another. And I see what God is willing to do to save us. Thanks be to God.
God bless you and stay well,
Podcast & Sermon Video Links
Stream The Wednesday Word Season 2 Episode 11 by Desert Spring United Methodist Church – Las Vegas | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
“The Bridge – Jesus’ Death and Resurrection” Sermon Video