Fourth Sunday in Lent – Sunday
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Ephesians 6:11.
About the dawn of Friday morning, the Sanhedrin, the chief council, convened again to devise some concerted action in bringing this matter concerning Jesus before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Their verdict, that Jesus was guilty of death, needed to be confirmed by him, for only he could order the execution to take place. And then Jesus was bound and taken to Pontius Pilate, into the Hall of Judgment. When Judas, who had betrayed his Master, saw that He was condemned, he repented himself, took the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, from whom he had received them, and said: “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:3-4a), whereupon they said, “What is that to us? See thou to that” (v. 4b). And he cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself (v. 5). And the chief priests took the silver pieces and said: “It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood” (v. 6). And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore, that field was called the Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (vv. 7-10).
Such was the frightful end of Christ’s betrayer. In desperation, he went “to his own place” (Acts 1:25), which was hell. Guard your soul, O Christian, against consenting to do any sin whatsoever (Proverbs 1:10). Continue to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For how does the devil go about his wicked work? First, he makes sin appear sweet, small, trifling, and easy. He then leads man from one sin into another, blinding him and hardening his conscience. And finally, when he has reached the utmost stage, he shouts at him, “You are lost!” and drives him to utter despair. Do withstand the first temptation, O Christian! Arm yourself more and more with the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)! And when you realize that you have fallen into sin, flee to Jesus at once. He receives you and forgives your iniquity and helps you, according to the firm assurances of His Word.
PRAYER. – Keep me from the devil’s wiles, O my Lord and Savior! I cannot keep myself. Continue to put on me Thy whole armor. Arm me more and more with Thy Word and the Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, and continue to give me Thy strength. When I have sinned, draw me to Thee in penitence and faith, and forgive my sin, and continue to satisfy me with the comfort of Thy salvation. And when my last hour comes, grant me a blessed end. Amen.
Grant that I Thy passion view, with repentant grieving;
nor Thee crucify anew, by unholy living.
How could I refuse to shun, ev’ry sinful pleasure;
since for me God’s only Son, suffered without measure.
(Hymn 140, st. 4; TLH)
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