He came for us
INVITATION and SCRIPTURE
Come, witness the one who came for us, who lived for us, and who died for us.
Come and know Jesus, who personifies God’s love, compassion, and mercy,
that we may live and work in His ways.
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Praise and thanks to God for this reading, and for sharing His Son with us.
Christ came to light our way through the darkness – to show us the way. His life on earth was the wake-up call, if you will, to those that had forgotten or little knew the kingdom of God, accessible through faith and mercy rather than meaningless “burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). He certainly came to restore our broken covenant with God through His ministry and passion, but his life and work also call us to action. He was the embodiment of God’s love that we are to follow in our own lives. So, let me relish His time on earth as the most holy example of living and sharing God’s saving grace. He came for us!
“by words and signs and actions thus
still seeking not himself but us.”
There is a beautiful 15th century Latin text that depicts the life and death of Christ as the greatest act of love. “O Love, how deep, how broad, how high” (UMH #267) is sometimes attributed to Christian theologian Thomas of Kempen (1380-1471). (https://hymnary.org/person/Kempis_T)
Often sung during Lent, I love this text because it also portrays the full span of Jesus’ life and work in such devoted and compassionate terms. It also reminds the reader that all He did was “for us”, as four of the six stanzas in our hymnal begin with those words.
The original poem contained some 23 stanzas, and eight of them were translated ca. 1854 by Anglican clergyman, Benjamin Webb (1819-1885).
Here is some excellent congregational singing, in great acoustics, as sung from the
Lutheran Service Book #544 – tune: DEO GRACIAS, English melody.
O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
Beyond all thought and fantasy,
That God, the Son of God, should take
Our mortal form for mortals’ sake.
He sent no angel to our race,
Of higher or of lower place,
But wore the robe of human frame,
And to this world Himself He came.
For us baptized, for us He bore
His holy fast and hungered sore;
For us temptation sharp He knew;
For us the tempter overthrew.
For us He prayed; for us He taught;
For us His daily works He wrought,
By words and signs and actions thus
Still seeking not Himself but us.
For us by wickedness betrayed,
For us, in crown of thorns arrayed,
He bore the shameful cross and death;
For us He gave His dying breath.
For us He rose from death again;
For us He went on high to reign;
For us He sent His Spirit here
To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
All glory to our Lord and God
For love so deep, so high, so broad;
The Trinity whom we adore
Forever and forevermore.
Jesus, You stooped down from heaven to take on flesh and dwell among us as You became the supreme example of God in the flesh. In Your humanness, You were victorious in the raging battle against the spiritual forces of evil when faced with temptations and trials common to all people. We stand in glorious victory as we follow Your example and hold to Your unchanging truths. In Your most Holy name we pray. Amen. https://bible247.net/a-prayer-of-thanks-for-the-incarnation-2/
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries