Cross in front of Founders Hall



Dead to Sin

Lent 2021

Read Matthew 21:1-17

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” 12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” 17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

Due to their lives of sin and deceit, thieves would flee to caves between raids for safety from the people they had robbed thus giving birth to the phrase “den of robbers.” When Jesus uses this phrase he is quoting the Old Testament from the prophet Jeremiah. God spoke through Jeremiah saying, Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? (Jeremiah 7:11) These words were spoken to people who would not change their lives of sin. The people wrongly believed that the temple protected them from the consequences of their evil and from punishment for their idolatrous actions against God. Refusing to repent or change they would emerge from the temple ready to engage in more defiance of God’s will. Unfortunately this was still the case in Jesus’ day. Life in Christ calls for a very different confidence. We stand fully confident in the grace that Christ pours out for us freely. However, we should be careful not to turn this into “cheap grace,” assuming permission to sin all the more as a way to “give” God the “opportunity” to forgive us even more. Life in Christ means living each day fully repentant of our sinful lives. We are not to remain confident in our sins but rather grieve them. We are not to seek ways to continue in our sin, but rather desire that God would help us overcome temptation and sin. Reconciled to God through Christ we are confident because our sinful flesh is put to death and we daily rise as a new creation to live before God in righteousness and purity.


Lord, forgive my sin. Change my life. Amen.

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