We are coming up on another Lenten Vespers tonight. We will begin the Passion readings from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Rather than blend all of the Passion readings from all of the Gospels together, we ponder what St. Luke records as he has a specific aim in his Gospel.
The Lenten Vespers also differ from Sunday's Divine Services as the Vespers focus more intently on the sufferings and death (the Passion, from that Latin, passio, meaning sufferings) for us. Some people are unsettled thinking of the Son of God being beaten and tormented and finally dying by crucifixion. But such agonies were necessary. He dies for sins. For sinners. For us.
Yes, sins are that bad. The wages of sin are that great. And God's love is greater.
If you think of sin but lightly, nor suppose the evil great,
Here you see its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed; see who bears the awful load--
'Tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God.
(Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted, CW 127:3)