In our Old Testament reading, God is implored to show mercy, even to foreigners and those who sin against him. In the New Testament reading, it is we who are taught to be impartial and to love our neighbors. Yet, in the Gospel reading, we observe the irony that it is God himself who is shown no mercy. Jesus was put on trial, his testimony not believed, spat upon, beaten, humiliated, and vilified.
The Son of Man endured all of this because he loved his neighbors more than himself. He fulfilled the law so that we would be spared sin and death by the one whom our own sins would not spare. Out of his great mercy for merciless people, he honored—with his life—those who blasphemed him.
Though we have sinned against him, he was not angry but instead, loved us with a flawless love, becoming the sacrifice that heaven could accept. What 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep could never do on an altar, the sinless Lamb of God accomplished on the cross. In that one, forsaken body, the innumerable sins of humanity’s past, present, and future were borne.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for your love and sacrifice for us, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.