Lent Devotional: 2 Corinthians 8:9
by Jonathan Haefs
Today’s devotional is authored by Dallas Knight
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace that was shown by our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich he became poor for your sake, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
During the Lenten season, we are encouraged to fast and abstain from pleasures in our lives in order to help us better understand the much greater sacrifice of Christ. As we long for these good things it helps us long for and be grateful for the greatest good, Christ, and his atoning sacrifice.
As I’m sure many of you have already pondered, it is quite remarkable that this pandemic has aligned with this Christian season of sacrifice and longing. For the greater societal good, governments around the world request we social distance and have only the most necessary businesses operational, sacrificing our social lives and our finances. Many of us have lost jobs and feel useless sitting at home doing nothing. Or these changes have made it difficult for us to maintain healthy habits or work from home efficiently. We have been forced to endure a Lenten season of sacrifice in a rather unexpected way: we didn’t get to choose this sacrifice, God determined it for us, and it looks like this sacrifice won’t end until long after Easter Sunday 2020. This sacrifice doesn’t have a known end date, and we get no “cheat days.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 is a helpful reminder in this unique season that Christ’s sacrifice did not consist solely of Holy Week. His suffering was long. The sum total of his suffering was not his arrest, trial, scourging, humiliation, and death, though clearly they are the climax of all his suffering. It began long before when the Son of God put down his right to glory as God, to dwell among sinful people in a broken world. It began when a baby was born to a virgin, having left the riches of glory to be with his spiritually impoverished people, his creation who rejected him in the garden and continued to reject him to the point of killing him on the cross. He put down the richness of his divinity. He took on the poverty of humanity. He left his royal status as an eternal inhabitant of heaven to become a temporary resident of earth, facing all the trials and difficulties we do: hunger, thirst, weariness, meanness, and rejection.
And he’s God! He didn’t have to endure any poverty. His riches are eternal; he gave them up. That is the grace Paul speaks of here in 2 Corinthians: Jesus’ whole life on earth was a sacrifice, and he endured it willingly for the sake of us. He left the presence of God the Father to be in the presence of an undeserving people in order that they… in order that we… could be made deserving. He left the richness of the presence of God so that we could one day enjoy that very same presence. He endured the poverty of this broken world so that we could receive forgiveness and be restored to God. One day we will enjoy this richness in full in the new heaven and the new earth, in the new Jerusalem where we will finally be in the glorious presence of our Lord forever and ever.
Christ became poor so that we might become rich. As we endure this pandemic-induced lifestyle of sacrifice, let us remember that though he was rich, Christ became poor so that we might–now in part, later in full–enjoy the richness of the Lord.