Because of Jesus

by | Jan 29, 2023 | New Life, Power

“Hear what the LORD says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. … for the LORD has an indictment against His people, and He will contend with Israel. ‘O My people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer Me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” … With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:1-2a, 3-4, 8 ESV)

I used to hate it when I was little and did something wrong—broke a rule, took a cookie I shouldn’t, forgot to clean my room. And every time, I got the angry question: “Why did you do that? Why, why, why?”

It was a serious question. I had to come up with an answer then and there. And there was no answer, at least none that would keep me out of trouble. Because the true answer was always the same: “Because I’m a sinner. Because I wanted to. Because sometimes I do bad things, and this was one of them.”

In today’s reading, God asks something very much the same: “O My people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer Me!” And then He goes on to list several major kind and loving things He did for His people, only to face ingratitude.

The true answer is the same, isn’t it? “We are sinners. That’s why we are acting like ungrateful brats.” And God knows that answer, which is why He sent Jesus.

No amount of screaming and yelling at us is going to stop us being sinners. Only a new heart will do that. Only someone—God Himself—who is willing to pay the price to re-create us—to take on our stony, ungrateful hearts, and replace them with His own innocence, love, and mercy.

And that’s what Jesus, God-with-us, did for us—took our sin, every last bit, upon Himself, and then carried it all the way to the cross. There He killed it forever, at the cost of His own life. And then He rose from the dead, alive forever with the same life He offers us today: A life that is filled with God’s Spirit, that is full of love and justice and mercy. A life where at last we can begin to walk humbly—and joyfully!—with our God, at His side as His own children.

Why? All because of Jesus.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for rescuing us through the work of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on January 24, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved 

Reflection Questions:
1. Have you ever tried to “live a better life” under your own power, just by trying harder?
2. If so, how did it go? Why did it turn out that way?
3. Why did God Himself pay the price for our sin instead of having someone else do it?


Because of Jesus