Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2018

Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31–34

Epistle: Hebrews 5:1–10

Gospel: Mark 10:32–45

Fifth Sunday of Lent: Theme for Today’s Liturgy

It’s the penultimate week of Lent, and our annual journey to the cross is nearing its climax. Through the psalmist, Jesus muses on his impending betrayal: “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!” (Introit). Yet the Lord promises to forgive the iniquity of those who so blatantly broke his covenant (Old Testament Reading), and he became the source of eternal salvation by his obedience through suffering (Epistle). That the innocent Jesus should be sacrificed for someone else’s sin seems obscene to our fair-mindedness: “Why, what hath my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite?” (Hymn of the Day, LSB 430:4). But he did it for you and for all sinners, in order “that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul” (Collect). Lent is a time of more intense reflection on our sinful nature, that we may appreciate all the more the sweet victory of life over death in the resurrection to come.

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