Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Today’s Reading - Matthew 1:1-25


21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means “God with us.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. - Matthew 1:21-25


I’ve recently written about the importance of the genealogy of Jesus. I hope you didn’t skip over it as you read. If you did, go back and pick a few familiar names, names that have good stories, but don’t miss the few names which have eye-raising stories (ex. Rahab). They are important. They help symbolize the purpose, the mission, the ministry, of Jesus. Our focus today is on the birth because a full and deep experience of Lent begins with where Jesus began and who He was. The story begins very humbly. His mother and father could be described as unknowns, just common folks doing things the right way. It began on some straw in a smelly stable. But his announcement declares him to be a savior who is with us and that is so important. The people needed a savior who was among them and understood the full scope of their life. They didn’t need a figurehead who talked a lot and made promises which couldn’t be fulfilled. They needed rescuing and only a savior who identified with the people could pull it off. Without question Jesus knew all about sin and its consequences and the need for an atoning sacrifice before He ever left heaven. But for thirty-three years He walked among sin and felt the full weight of its shame and guilt. It was a humble beginning which led to a life of humility which enabled Him to carry that weight to the cross. He understood. Humanity needed a Savior who would go to a cross. We need that Savior today. He’s still with us. He’s still our Savior. Let’s prepare to experience the fullness and depth power of the cross and resurrection as we seek to become holy vessels.


Heavenly Father, prepare us for the journey we are about to begin. There is nothing magical about this season other than it allows us to focus on You and your work through your Son. Begin to prepare us for the transforming work You have for us. May we walk in true humility toward Easter. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.