Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — Good Friday: The Prayer of the Lamb

In the Name X of Jesus.  AMEN  (Luke 23:32-38)

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. (33) And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (34) And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (35) And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” (36) The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine (37) and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (38) There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Luke 23:32-38 ESV)

Beloved in the Lord,

They Led Him Out to Crucify Him with Criminals

Steadfast Sermons GraphicBehold the Lamb!  He is without spot, stain or blemish.  He is guiltless of all crimes.  Pilate, himself recognized his innocence and declared him so three times.  Yet, they lead Him out to crucify Him.  Though guiltless He is guilty.  Though blameless, He is blamed.  Though sinless, He who knew no sin has become sin.  He is life and yet he goes to His death.  He is love and yet He is hated by His own.  He submits while His creation rebels.  He is king, King of the Jews, and yet they lead Him out to crucify Him with two other criminals.  He is the Father’s Son and yet He is numbered with the transgressors.

Behold the Lamb!  He is become sin.  He is become a curse.  He bears the Wood as the greater Isaac, bearing it up the mountain called Golgotha, bearing faithfully as the Father’s beloved.  Behold the Lamb as the Wood is fastened to His hands and His feet.  Behold the Lamb as He is lifted up that He might draw all men to Himself.  Behold the Lamb, beloved!  Behold Him who is numbered with the transgressors, who once ate with sinners, who frequently attended to the lost, the wandering, the despised, the “less than” of this world.  Behold Him beloved, Behold the Lamb of God!

Eyes for ourselves

It is a difficult thing to look upon this Lamb.  We may glance here and there casting our eyes upon the image, but never truly pondering His person nor the circumstances of His demise.  Look upon the cross is to look upon death.  Death is not something we would look upon with fondness.  No, we would much rather look upon ourselves.  For we, in our fallenness, are given to ourselves.  It is the curse of our sin, the corruption of our nature once created in the image and likeness of our God, but now totally depraved and turned within.  We would not look upon the cross for the cross is the picture of our heart.  It is the epitome of our rebellion.  It is the sign of our destruction and death.  Yes, beloved we would not look upon the cross because we only have eyes for ourselves.  We are narcissists through and through. In Adam’s sin we have seen our own image and fallen in love with ourselves. Loving ourselves we have been immersed into a delusion, a deception, a lie that says we have life within ourselves.  Believing the lie we allow our hearts to marinate in the worship of Self.  When the heart worships self, there is no room for others, no room for God and no room for our neighbors. Though in reality, the heart is empty, void of all that is good right and salutary.  The emptiness, though denied, is felt and thus also the cause for a lifetime pursuit of more; more things, more respect, a more beautiful mate, more fun, more happiness, more, more, more. And the more the heart consumes the more empty it becomes.  There is no life in such things.  In our narcissism we must have more things to fill up the chasm that cannot be satiated, however we might try, by the temporal things of this life.  Those who have eyes for themselves, who refuse to behold the Lamb, to look upon the cross, will suffer eternal loneliness.  For where the heart is there is your treasure. Those who love self will inherit only self, only death, only hell.

Craving Pardon for your Foes

Repent!  Turn away from yourself!  Lift up your heads!  Stand, arise, and behold the Lamb!  Look upon the Cross and listen with open ears.  Though you have rebelled, this man prays for you.  Though you have wandered away, He calls upon His Father for you.  Though you have been the cause of His suffering, though your sins be great, though your love for God and neighbor have failed, though you are the guilty one, He asks, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  He is about your forgiveness! He is there as a curse, bearing your sin, that His blood would cover over you and all who draw near to Him, all who believe and are baptized.

Yes, beloved, lift up your heads and behold the Lamb!  Look upon this Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary and the Son of God.  See how He dies! Hear how He prays!  Listen to the One who loves you more than His own life.  Hear Him box the Father’s ears on your behalf.  Jesus is about your mercy!  Jesus is for your forgiveness. Here He purchases for you the very thing He prays for.  He offers Himself in place of your sins. He sheds His blood so that you don’t have to.  He dies your death, that your death be a mere portal to life eternal.  He is cursed for your absolution.  He is condemned for your justification.  He is pierced for your transgressions; he is crushed for your iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought you peace with God your creator and with your neighbors, and with his wounds You are healed. (Isa 53:5 ESV)

Eyes and Ears for Jesus

Behold the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!  There is your God!  There is your Savior! There is your King.  Look upon Him as He dies for you.  Listen to Him as He prays for you.  Believe Him! He is salvation for you.  Through His death, you who were once God’s enemy have been turned.  The believer is God’s friend.  And greater love has no man than this that He lay down His life for His friends. Draw near beloved and behold your friend.  He is numbered with transgressors that transgressors like you and me be turned from ourselves and our eyes and our ears be fixed upon the Lord their God.

Fixed on Jesus, in the shadow of the cross and baptized into His death and resurrection we Christians have had our eyes and our ears quickened.  We see the world rightly, for we no longer are fixed on ourselves.  We hear the Father’s mercy as we listen to the Savior’s gospel.  We look to God to fill our hearts with His Holy Spirit for we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ our Lord, but the “Holy Spirit has called us by the gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith.”  Eyes and Ears are now for Jesus.  Heart and Hands are now for our neighbors.  What was once empty and vain is now full and overflowing with love towards God and our neighbor.

Behold the Lamb

Beloved in the Lord, Behold the Lamb.  He is led to slaughter. He goes quietly without excuse, without grumbling.  He goes for you and me and all who transgress the Law of God, all who have fallen in love with themselves.  As He empties Himself on the cross He gives Himself for our fullness.  Having given everything He gives up His Spirit.  He is crucified and He is dead.  Now, He is taken down to be buried.  The King of Jews is laid to rest, but only for few days.  His work is not ended.  On the third day He will take His throne in the land of the living.  On the third day the Lamb will rise just as He said.  On the third day, on the third day, let us all gather once more  . . . on the third day.  AMEN!

 

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


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