Good Friday + John 19:31-37 + April 14, 2017

Order of the Word and Prayer

Hymn # 140 Jesus, I Will Ponder Now

Opening Versicles
P: O Lord, open Thou my lips
C: And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
P: Make haste to deliver me.
C: Make haste to help me, O Lord.


Introit (Isaiah 53:4a, 5a, 6; Psalm 102:1-2,13)
SURE- LY - || He has borne our griefs and car- | ried | our | sor- - | rows; *
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our | in- - | i- - | qui- | ties.
|| All we like sheep | have | gone | a- - | stray; *
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniqui- | ty - | of - | us | all.
|| Hear | my | pray-er, ∙ | O - | Lord, *
And let my | cry - | come - | to | You.
|| Do not hide | Your | face | from - | me *
In the day | of - | my - | trou- | ble;
|| Incline | Your | ear | to - | me; *
In the day that I call, answer | me - | speed- - | i- | ly.
|| But You, O Lord, shall en- | dure | for- | ev- - | er, *
And the remembrance of Your name to all | gen- - | er- - | a- | tions.
|| Surely He has borne our griefs and car- | ried | our | sor- - | rows; *
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our | in- - | i- - | qui- | ties.
|| All we like sheep | have | gone | a- - | stray; *
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniqui- | ty - | of - | us | all.


Collect for Good Friday 
Almighty God, we beseech Thee graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the Cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

First Reading Isaiah 50:6-9

Tract (Psalm 69:20; Lamentation 1:12; Isaiah 53:5) 
|| Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full | of | heav- | i- - | ness; *
I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, | but - | I - | found | none.
|| Is it nothing to you, all | you | who | pass - | by? *
Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which has been brought on me, which the Lord has inflicted in the day of | His - | fierce - | an- | ger.
|| But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our | in- | i- | qui- - | ties; *
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His | stripes - | we - | are | healed. 


Second Reading Isaiah 52:13-53:12 


The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ John 18:1-40



The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ John 19:1-16a 

Hymn # 172 “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” stz. 6-10          

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ John 19:16b-42


Sermon


In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

1)         Moses had written in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” This is why the Jews asked Pilate for the malefactor’s legs to be broken. The crucified often used their legs to push their bodies up in order to keep breathing, so breaking their legs would speed them towards the goal of the crucifixion. The Jews were anxious to have an empty cross so they can have the whole thing over with. St. John tells us the soldiers broke legs of the two men hanging on both sides of Jesus, but that when they approached Christ there was no need to break His legs. He appeared to be dead already. To make sure Christ was really dead, a soldier drives a spear up into the side of Jesus, into to His lung. He proves to be dead because water and blood gush out of His pierced side. The Evangelist writes that this fulfilled two prophesies. First, from Psalm 34:20, “Not one of His bones shall be broken;” the second from Zechariah 12:10, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” The soldiers look upon the one whom they pierced simply as a matter of protocol. The death must be confirmed for the public record. They look upon the one whom they pierced and see a dead man, a job well done.

2)         What do people today see when they “look on Him whom they pierced.” Some see a victim of senseless violence, an innocent man who did nothing deserving death. Many see one who was crucified simply to sate the jealousy of the Jews and protect Pilate’s political career. But to look upon Him whom they pierced in such a way makes Jesus’ death senseless and without purpose. Others, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God, see a failed religious leader whose time was cut short by the religious establishment. They look upon Him whom they pierced and shake their heads, lamenting the waste of a life. But to look on Him whom they pierced in such a manner makes Jesus into a teacher of morality and goodwill among men. Still others in our age don’t want to look upon Him whom they pierced at all. Some, in unbelief, imagine that such a thing never happened in spite of the historic record. Others, trying to be more pious, want an empty cross because of the resurrection. But all crosses are eventually empty, though not all tombs are. There’s nothing inherently wrong with an empty cross. But as we’ve seen too many times in recent history, an empty cross can mean whatever someone wants it to mean. The imagine of the pierced one though has precise meaning which is why so many want to take Jesus down from the cross. 

3)         What is this meaning? What do we see when we looks upon Him whom they pierced? We are not to see only with our eyes as the Jews and Romans did, but with our ears. There’s a reason that the last miracle of Jesus was the healing of Malchus’ ear in the Gethsemane Garden. There’s a reason that moment is emblazed on our stained-glass window. Peter draws the sword and somehow manages to cut off the man’s ear. Jesus “touched his ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51). The Lord put Malchus back together to show us that every agony He endures, every blow He accepts, and every affliction He suffers is to be seen and understood by faith in the Word of God and not by sight. Jesus says throughout the four Gospels, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:8). He gives Malchus an ear so that He might teach us to listen to the prophets and look up Him whom they pierced with ears opened by God and attentive to what the Word tells us about Him.

4)         What do we see when we look upon Him whom they pierced in such a way? We see the pierced one dying not senselessly or without purpose. We see instead a glorious purpose. The prophet writes, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” It is the grief we have brought upon ourselves by our sins that Christ carries up Calvary’s hill. The sorrows Christ bore were the sorrows of death and Hell which we deserve for our sins. These sorrows He carries in His flesh. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” the prophet continues. God had to bruise someone for our iniquities, our lust, our ambition, our idolatry, our self-righteousness, our anger, our jealousy and that should have been you and I. Instead Christ was bruised for our iniquities. The prophet goes on, “The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.” Every man, woman and child born in the natural way from the line of Adam and Eve deserve to be chastised for their sinful thoughts, their disdain of God’s Word, and their unwillingness to patiently accept what God gives, even if it is affliction. The image of Christ crucified shows us the seriousness of our sin and the severity of God’s wrath against sin and the sinner. Looking upon the one whom they pierced, we do not look it rightly if we do not see the justice of God against our wickedness.
5)         But we must not stop there, for the prophet is not finished in telling us of the one whom they pierced. We must see judgment but we should also see the great love of God in the image of Christ crucified. It is written in Wisdom 11:24, “Thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing which thou hast made.” Christ willingly goes to the cross out of love. He accepts the betrayal, the false accusation, the injustice, the scourging, the rods, the spitting, the crown of thorns and the cold steel through His hands and feet because it is the Father’s will  that “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). By His death Christ atones for the sins of all mankind. God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30) and to daily believe the Gospel that in Christ we have a God who is reconciled to us. God’s justice must be kept whole, so sin must be punished. God’s love for humanity will not be hindered, so Christ dies in our place as our substitute and demonstrates the love of God in its fullest form. Because Christ has made atonement for all the sins of all the world, Jesus says in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
6)         What do the prophets show us in the one whom they pierced? They show us the severity and seriousness of our sins so that we daily repent of them, mourn them, and desire to be rid of them. The Word of God preached into the ear Jesus gives tell us the depth of God’s love for His creation, that Christ would willingly bear our sorrows, carry our griefs, be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities so that “by His stripes we are healed.” The image of Christ crucified, when looked to in faith, is a remedy for the evil conscience which vexes us with the memory of our sins. Every wound He willingly accepted in His flesh is a holy cure for the temptations of our flesh, whatever they may be and whenever they come upon us. The chastisement Christ received for our sins is the antidote for our every grief and sorrow in this life, for when we look upon the one whom they pierced we see that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If God the Father gave His Only-Begotten Son into suffering and death for our sakes, what good thing would He ever think of withhold from us?
7)         After yesterday’s service Ray and I put up the chancel cross and Amos asked, “Do we have a Jesus for this cross?” He understands that crosses are for Jesus, to show us the great love God the Father has for us poor, undeserving sinners. We need Christ upon the cross just as much as we need an empty tomb. Don’t be too eager to take Christ down from the cross, as the Jews were. Do not be too hasty to avert your eyes from this glorious sight of Christ crucified. Look upon the one whom they pierced and imprint that image upon your heart, to console and comfort you that your sins are atoned for, so that by faith in Christ’s innocent suffering and death, they are no more.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.



Bidding Prayer (TLH pg. 116-117)


The Lord's Prayer

Collect for Good Friday 
Hear us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy abundant blessing may be upon Thy people who have held the passion and death of Thy Son in devout remembrance, that we may receive Thy pardon and the gift of Thy comfort, and may increase in faith and take hold of eternal salvation; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.  


Depart in reverent joy and praise on your lips, rejoicing in what your Savior underwent for you and your salvation.

+++
 
After all, he humbled himself, as it is written, being found in appearance as a man for our sakes so that when he was first restored to his rule, he might be made a beginning for us and a glorious way into his kingdom. Though he is life by nature, he descended for us into death according to the flesh in the place of all so that he might deliver us from both death and decay. He did this by mixing us with himself, so to speak by his likeness with us, and so rendering us participants of eternal life. In the same way, even though as God he is the Lord of glory, he conforms himself to our dishonor in order to raise up human nature to royal honor. He has become “preeminent in everything,” as Paul says, the way, the door, the first fruits of the blessings for human nature from death to life, from decay to incorruption, from weakness to strength, from slavery to sonship, from dishonor and ignominy to honor and royal glory. Therefore, when the Son clearly receives as man what he already had as God, let us not at all be offended, but let us bring to mind the way of the incarnation that is for us and in our place. In this way we will preserve our mind unwounded and unhurt.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
Commentary on John 3:35

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