A Sabbath to Keep Watch - Lenten Plans

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on February 16, 2021

After the horrible act of crucifying Jesus, the soldiers sat down to keep watch (Matthew 27:32-44).

This is our role during Lent. We have done our part. We have crucified our Savior. "To their loss, they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace" (Hebrews 6:6).

Now is the time for Jesus to do his part. He must suffer what we cannot. He must atone for the sins he did not commit.

We cannot help him. We can only sit down to keep watch.

Keeping watch. That is our privilege this Lenten season.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. It begins a Sabbath time, when we set aside additional time to keep watch.

During the Wednesday services (3:30 and 7:00 pm with 3:30 livestreamed), we will keep watch at the foot of the cross. We will hear the story of Jesus’ suffering from Mark 14-15. Tomorrow will include the Imposition of Ashes and the Lord's Supper. In the 3:30 service the following Wednesdays we will include a Children's Message.

The weekend services are not actually part of “Lent.” If you count it out, Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter. The six Sundays of Lent are not counted. Why? Because each Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. The ancient Church did not include the Sunday Resurrection Celebrations as part of the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter.

During the weekend services, we will keep watch as Jesus reveals himself through his ministry in Mark 1-11. 

Our Old Testament lesson (Exodus 29-30) speaks of the consecration of the priests and the furnishings of the Tabernacle. Today, as I sit with the soldiers at the foot of the cross, I am in awe at the consecration of our Great High Priest, who would suffer for a sinner like me.

After Jesus' death, the centurion who kept watch concluded, "Surely he was the Son of God." May our "keeping watch" during Lent have a similar impact on our hearts. 

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Pete 

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