By Justin Rossow

Lenten Devotion for Wednesday, March 19

Read John 18:28-32

Our three-year-old doesn’t like to get his diaper changed. I’m sure he’ll grow out of diapers entirely any minute now. But for today, if you smell something slightly disgusting and ask, “Do you need to change your diaper?” he will say, “No!” and run away. Quickly. And maybe hide.

I found him the other day with chocolate chip stains all over his fingers. I asked if he needed to wipe his hands. He said, “No!” and ran away quickly. (I really hope they were chocolate chip stains…)

In our reading today, religious leaders accuse Jesus of crimes that deserve the death penalty. Jesus did things and said things that showed He was God—and that got Him in big trouble with people who couldn’t imagine a God who would be willing to suffer and die for His people.

But look at what these religious people do: they make sure they don’t break any of their religious rules (like the ones about going into a house that wasn’t properly cleaned) while AT THE SAME TIME they are trying to kill Jesus. They are stuck on rules and being clean on the outside; their actions show the garbage on the inside.

We can see how wrong that kind of fake religion is when we see it in other people. The challenge is to recognize when we make a big deal about rules just to make ourselves look good.  When we do that, there’s garbage in our hearts.

When we pretend to be good people but ignore Jesus, we’re kind of like the three-year-old who knows he needs to change, but doesn’t like it. You can’t get clean by running away and hiding; you can only get clean by running to Jesus.

And every time you run to Jesus, He always removes the stain of your sin. In fact, that’s why He came: to make you clean and holy by taking your sin away.

We pray: Jesus, since you took our sins to the cross, get rid of the garbage in our lives. Don’t let us hide anything from You. Forgive us and make us clean. Amen.

Family Discussion

People can say they love God but then do things that don’t show God’s love. Talk about where we might see that in others and in ourselves. As a family, how do we run back to Jesus to be made clean? (Hint: remember your baptism …)

Everyday Object

Consider taking a garbage bag out of the can and putting it near (or even on!) the table for this devotion. How silly would it be to eat dinner like that? We want to take the trash away from us because it’s dirty and disgusting; it makes everything unclean. Sin is like that; and Jesus takes our sins away!