Matins Devotion: January 13, 2023
When scoffers try to mock our faith, they generally do so by pointing out how ridiculous it all sounds. “Oh, right,” they say. “Some Jewish guy who is also God was born of a virgin and dies on a cross to forgive your sins and then comes back to life on the third day and anyone who believes that can go to heaven even if you were the worst person in the world?”
The funny thing about this, of course, is that they act like we’ve never really thought about these things before and that we’re going to be stunned by the ridiculousness of it all. But, of course, the ridiculousness is something we consider every day. The foolishness of the Gospel is something that is deeply and profoundly personal for Christians. It’s something we see in all its glorious, foolish, wonderful detail every day.
This is something Paul highlights in our reading from Romans today. When God called Abram, he called him to believe something laughable, something utterly insane that he literally felt in his aged bones. Though Abraham’s body was “as good as dead,” as Paul puts it, and though his wife’s womb was even more dead, our Lord called Abraham to believe the absurd, the ridiculous. He called Abraham to believe that he and Sarah would conceive a child in their old age, and that through that child, Abraham would become a mighty nation. God called Abraham to believe that his dead body would bring forth offspring, one of which would be the Messiah would one day arrive and bless all the nations of the earth.
Like Abraham, once you were as good as dead–unable to produce life from the sin-corrupted heart you know so very well. But then God gave you a Son. God gave you His Son who saw every horrific detail of your sins and yet still chose to love you, chose to cherish you, chose to rescue you with His nail pierced hands and feet, His with thorn slashed brow, and with His dying breath. Once you were entirely unworthy of being loved by God. But then Jesus breathed out His worthiness upon you and handed you the love of God when He rose from the grave.
Out of death, life. Out of rot, growth. Out of misery, glory. Out of sin, righteousness. That’s always what the Christian faith has been about. It’s always been absurd. It’s always been ridiculous. It’s always been foolish. And, thanks be to God, it’s always been true.