Fifth Sunday in Lent – Series C 

We have come full circle here in this Lenten season. Did you notice the very last line of the pericope? The religious leaders, perceiving that Jesus has spoken the parable about them, see for a way to hand Jesus over to the authority of the Roman governor. Satan had offered Jesus that very same authority in the temptation story which we heard in the first week of this Lenten season.

Jesus resisted that temptation. He did not trade his higher authority for the lower. Jesus, who has the higher authority will exercise that superior authority, oddly, counterintuitively, by dying on a cross, condemned by the lesser authority of Pilate and the Sanhedrin to die the death which undoes all their authority. If you think about this too much you might get headache. Be careful. This is the mystery of salvation. Do not expect full comprehension but do spend the time in awe and wonder.

From that strange and paradoxical action by God’s only Son flows the gracious, forgiving, and wholly other authority which our crucified and risen Lord possesses today. As we confess in the creed, he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. It is important that this line is not found in the first article of the creed. By all rights, the creator should judge us. He made us, he owns us by rights. He gets to make the rules and we are accountable to Him. This is simple logic. If I a make a piece of furniture in my shop, I get to determine its uses and usefulness. If it doesn’t measure up, I can make firewood out of it.

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