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“Meditation on Christ’s Passion,” John 18-19

 

Click here for audio.

 

Psalm 22

Readings: Isaiah 52:13—53:12; Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9; John 18:1—19:42

 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Cranach-BloodFromJesusSideFrom the cross, just before our Lord died, Jesus declared, “It is finished!”

With these words, Jesus testified to His completed work for your salvation.

It was not on the day of Easter, the day that our Lord resurrected bodily, that sin and death were put to an end.

It was the day He died that Jesus put sin to death.  There, death lost its eternal hold.

The unforgettable words of our Lord, “It is finished!” thus bring true comfort and consolation to hearts troubled by sin and burdened by its effects.

Through His suffering and death, Christ brought about that peace with God that surpasses all human understanding.

Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36).

The price for that peace, the cost for that sin being taken away, was His blood.

It is as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed: Christ ‘redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, that He purchased and won from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death’ (Meaning to the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed).

The Jesus of the Bible is not an unbloody Savior, for “without shedding of blood there is no remission” of sins (Heb. 9:22 NKJ).

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14 NKJ).

The servant of Isaiah chapter 52 & 53 is truly the servant of the Most High God, but also is He the suffering servant, whom we esteem “stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted”.

Instead of the crown of kings, the Christ of God received a crown of thorns.

Instead of the honor due His name, the Son of the Living God was mocked and blasphemed.

Though His Words and works gave witness to His identity, still did they crucify Him.

Jesus endured such hostilities.

He died at the hands of sinful men.

His breath ceased and He “Gave up His Spirit” (John 19:30) just after His last words, those words that still echo in the ears, “It is finished!”

He surrendered Himself unto death, having permitted Himself to be crucified and to die.

Jesus did not say what He said only because His suffering had ended.

Jesus did not do what He did because He was sinful from birth and in need of a savior.

Jesus did not give Himself over to suffer and to die either because He deserved it or to prove Himself to the world.

Jesus said what He said as a clear witness and testimony to all creation that His work of redemption for all people, here and there, near and far, at home and abroad, is now accomplished.

All the work that His Heavenly Father had given Him to do was now done.

There is nothing to add to, and nothing to take away from, what the Lord Christ had completed – for you.

The penalty for your sin and the judgment for your guilt was laid upon Him who knew no sin.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21).

The holy One became the unholy.  The righteous One became the unrighteous.

The sinless became the sinner.

The Passover Lamb, Christ Jesus, was slain in your stead and as your substitute.

Willingly the Savior endured the cross, scorning its shame.

He was wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities, the chastisement of your peace was upon Him, and by His stripes you are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

This despised and rejected Jesus of Nazareth, this One called King of the Jews, who hung on a cross—He is the only hope for our dying world, for sinful people, for Christ’s church.

Whatever you would add to or subtract from His work, His fulfilling the will of His heavenly Father—in life and in death—is all for nothing—except your sure judgment.

The sacrifice of God’s Son alone is sufficient satisfaction and compensation for sin, whether it be the sin of the most pious saint or the sin of the most wretched sinner.

It makes no difference.

All who sorrow over their sin, all who grieve because of their unrighteousness, all who despair of themselves because of what they’ve done and because of what they haven’t done, all are reconciled to the Father through the Son.

Jesus placated God’s wrath by means of humility, suffering, and His own death (John 14:6).

Christ the Messiah came to fulfill all that was spoken of Him, all that was given Him to do.

He fulfilled it!

Jesus is that suffering servant of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 52-53), the One calling out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22), the seed of the woman crushing the serpents head (Genesis).

Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness.  He willingly obeyed His Father in every respect.

Jesus is the Servant of servants, the Slave of slaves, Who frees you and all the world by condemning sin in His flesh by death and doing the work which you could not.   This He has completed.

All is done!

It is finished!

In Christ the crucified, all requirements for your salvation are complete.

Jesus is your perfection before God.

Jesus is your righteousness before the Father.

Jesus is your peace before the Just Judge.

Through His suffering and death, on account of His faithful and perfect obedience to His Father, He fulfilled all the requirements of the Holy Law in your place and died your death, that you would live in Him and with Him for all eternity.

In Christ Jesus, it is truly finished!

All is accounted for.

This is how to see Christ’s death rightly: not to see Him as merely One who died Who should not have; not simply to have pity on Him Who got what He Himself did not deserve; not casting blame only on others, like the Jews, who called for His death, or on the Romans, who put Jesus to death by means of crucifixion.

Christ was there on that cross in death for you.

For your sins He died.

Believing Christ’s death rightly is to believe that Christ died where you were to be, that you deserve all that He suffered, that He took your place, even in death, that you have life, and that you no longer be ruled by sin and its evil desires, that you look to Him for help and salvation.

Having been baptized into the Name of Christ, you have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6).

You are now dead to sin, but alive to God.

“If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:10).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

On the way to be crucified, some women had cried out after Jesus.  They were weeping in sorrow for what was coming upon Him.  But to them He said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28).

Jesus says the same to you.

Do not weep for Him.

Weep for yourselves and for your own sins.

On the cross you see where you should be, what should come to you.

Only for God’s grace in Christ Jesus are you not.

He Himself was!

St. Peter writes that Christ Jesus, “…suffered for us…,” that He “committed no sin,” that no “deceit” (was) found in His mouth”;  that, “when He was reviled,” He “did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;”  that He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness– by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:19-21).

View the suffering and death of Jesus, God’s Son, as your own.

In this way, you see the Passion of the Lord Christ aright.

Because of Him, eternal death and sin’s judgment are no more your own. Amen.

 

PrayingHands&Cross1Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (Collect of the Day for Good Friday)

 

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What is Lent?

God’s Grace is Sufficient

 

 

The Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Apology XII. Penitence

(Tappert Edition)

[Paragraphs 158-160] 158 Scripture explains that Job’s afflictions were not imposed on him because of his past misdeeds. So afflictions are not always punishments or signs of wrath. When in the midst of troubles terrified consciences see only God’s punishment and wrath, they should not feel that God has rejected them but they should be taught that troubles have other and more important purposes. They should look at these other and more important purposes, that God is doing his alien work in order to do his proper work, as Isaiah teaches in a long sermon in his twenty-eighth chapter.1 159 When the disciples asked who had sinned in the case of the blind man, Christ replied that the reason for his blindness was not sin but “that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). In Jeremiah (49:12) it is said, “Those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it.” Thus the prophets were killed, and John the Baptist, and other saints. 160 Therefore troubles are not always penalties for certain past deeds, but works of God, intended for our profit, that the power of God might be made more manifest in our weakness.

Luther’s Large Catechism

(Tappert Edition)

3rd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done, O Lord”

65  Therefore we who would be Christians must surely count on having the devil with all his angels5 and the world as our enemies and must count on their inflicting every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where God’s Word is preached, accepted or believed, and bears fruit, there the blessed holy cross will not be far away. Let nobody think that he will have peace; he must sacrifice all (tr-717) he has on earth — possessions, honor, house and home, wife and children, body and life. 66 Now, this grieves our flesh and the old Adam, for it means that we must remain steadfast, suffer patiently whatever befalls us, and let go whatever is taken from us.

67 Therefore, there is just as much need in this case as in every other case to pray without ceasing: “Thy will be done, dear Father, and not the will of the devil or of our enemies, nor of those who would persecute and suppress thy holy Word or prevent thy kingdom from coming; and grant that whatever we must suffer on its account, we may patiently bear and overcome, so that our poor flesh may not yield or fall away through weakness or indolence.”

6th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”

As  long as we remain in this vile life in which we are attacked, hunted, and harried on all sides, we are constrained to cry out and pray every hour that God may not allow us to become faint and weary and to fall back into sin, shame, and unbelief. Otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

106 This, then, is “leading us not into temptation” when God gives us power and strength to resist, even though the tribulation is not removed or ended. For no one can escape temptations and allurements as long as we live in the flesh and have the devil prowling about us.  We cannot help but suffer tribulations, and even be entangled in them, but we pray here that we may not fall into them and be overwhelmed by them.

Luther

“We should not fear harsh treatment (Gewalt), but prosperity and good days we should fear.  These may harm us more than fear and persecution.  Nor should we fear the wisdom of the world, for it can do us no harm.  In fact, the more the wisdom of the world rises up against the truth, the purer and clearer the truth becomes.  Therefore nothing better can come to the Gospel than the opposition of the world with its might and wisdom.  The more my conscience, sin, and the devil assail me, the stronger my righteousness becomes.  For the sins that oppress me cause me anguish.  So I persist more and more earnestly in prayer and crying to God; and in this way faith and righteousness become constantly stronger and stronger.  This is what St. Paul means when he says (2 Cor. 12:9): Strength becomes stronger in weakness.  Since, then, we have a treasure which becomes stronger through temptation and adversity, we should not fear but be of good courage and rejoice at tribulation, as St. Paul says to the Romans (5:3), and as the apostles did who left the courthouse with great joy and thanked God for having been worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Christ’s name (Acts 5:41).  If the devil were wise enough to be silent and let the Gospel be preached, he would sustain less harm.  For when the Gospel is not attacked, it rusts and has no opportunity to reveal its power and might.”  (W 10 I, 2, 422 – E 14, 300f – SL 11, 1807f)(Plass, What Luther Says, #3304 Ease Is a Greater Danger, Persecution, p1039)

 

 

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