Sermon — Rev. Tony Sikora — Good Friday

In the Name X of Jesus.  AMEN!

Beloved in the Lord,

Behold Your God!  There upon the wood of the cross hangs your creator.  “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made” including you.  Jesus unites Himself to death!  Though Jew and Gentile assume their providence in the matter, the sovereign God surrenders Himself to their whims, to the whims of His rebellious creation.

Behold your God!  Jesus is crucified.  He has borne the cross along the way and now He suffers its consequences.  His body is torn but not broken.  His flesh seeps blood, blood which sprinkles the soil like rain in the desert.  His blood gives life, and this world is full of death.  Nails hold Him in place, as if love would not.  Crowned king of thorns and thistles His brow weeps crimson tears.  Man’s depravity mockingly hails him.  Hearts crafted for his dwelling place echo the usurper’s voice.  Derision fills the air.  That which was fearfully and wonderfully made turns against its maker.  Heads wag.  Fingers taunt. Eye’s hate.  Breasts are beaten.  The clay condemns the one who forms it.  The pot is cast against its potter.

Yes, beloved, behold your God.  He hangs between criminals. He is numbered with transgressors.  He does not despise the shame but embraces the violence that in Him the shame of sin and violence of death should be destroyed forever.  Behold your God!  He hangs on the tree for you and for your good.

Looking upon the tree we see our world’s end, we see our end.  We see death and we see the totality of death in our world focused, narrowed, reduced to one.  All that surrounds us is death.  Death is everywhere in our lives:  death in the hospitals, death in the streets, death in our homes, our families, our news, on the television, and in the movies.  War and bloodshed encompass our culture.  Man is against man.  The way to life is to take it from others.  The strong are given to survive by exploiting, manipulating and even killing the weak.  Death is everywhere and has even become for us entertainment.  Death was threatened and brought about by an angered and alienated God whom we sinned against, but now death is become the voice in our heads.  We hear it all the time.  We see it all the time.  And like ancient Rome we even pay money that its battle may occupy our afternoons and evenings.

With so much death about us we have become numb – to life, cold to our neighbor, and dead to God.  We see no meaning in death.  Yet we are all walking our way towards it.  Life is a constant journey toward death.  Death seemingly rules over all things.

Death is not natural.  It is contrary to our creator’s will and purpose.  Humanity was created for life, eternal life, life with the Lord, walking and talking in lush pastures of Eden.  But our forefather ate the fruit.  Sin brought about death, death in Adam and death in Adam’s children, therefore death also in you.  “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”  And so “the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.”  Death surrounds you because “all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”  Death is your end because you sinned.

Behold your God!  Jesus enters death for you.  He has no sin but is pure and righteous and holy.  He is not deserving of this, but we are.  Yet He goes.  He suffers.  He takes upon Himself our curse.  “Cursed is the man who hangs on the tree.”  Jesus bears the curse, drags it about in His body and suffers its consequence.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus dies for sin – your sin, my sin, the world’s sin.  No one is left out, no sin is outside the blood!  As far as the curse is found so far the reach of the Arm of God, the bleeding arm of the Lord.

Jesus death gives meaning and purpose to all death.  “You who think of sin but lightly nor suppose the evil great here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.”  The wages of sin is death and Jesus dies.  The death of the world is hung on one man that all men, women and children may be redeemed by His death.  Therefore His death gives meaning to all death, every death, even your death.  Death comes because of sin, but Jesus has borne your sin and taken your death.  On the cross in the person of His Son, the angered and alienated God is brought near to His beloved creation.  For He does not despise being numbered with transgressors nor does He scorn the shame of the cross.  His heart is fixed on your salvation.  His mind is set.  His hands are nailed.  His feet firmly planted.  The skull is being crushed and His is bruised.  Jesus is crucified that all who follow Him, take up their cross and by faith cling to Him, are baptized with His baptism, and immersed in His passion, that all may live.

Thus Jesus’ passion calls for faith.  The curse hangs on Jesus.  Your strength and merits are put to death.  For all your strength has merited only death.   You cannot wrestle yourself from beneath its heavy load.  Jesus not only wrestles with death, but He embraces it in its fullness for He also suffers Hell.  Jesus dies such a death for you, in your place, that His holy precious blood and innocent suffering death may cover over you, your sins, your death, and give you life.  As the Savior has said, “he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24 NKJ).  All of our life has been moving from life into death.  But Jesus transforms our existence.  He seeks your passing from death to life through His death and resurrection.

Therefore, beloved, cast your eyes heavenward and behold your God.  Lend your ears to the precious Word and suffer the Spirit’s quickening of your heart.  There is your curse!  There is your sin. There is your death.  There is all that is against you.  And there is your Jesus for you.  The cross is all for you.  The blood is for you.  The suffering is for you.  The wounds, the nails, the spear, the blood stained brow, the agony, the expiration, the pleading and the promising.  On account of Jesus the Father forgives.  And all who believe are this day promised paradise.  Behold your God!  Amen!

 

The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!


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