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Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
April 6, 2012
Central Passage
John 8:46-59
Description

 

Fr. Lovett, evangelist
Concordia Lutheran Church
Good Friday
April 22, 2011
+ John 8:46-59 +
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.  For the Son so loved the Father that He obeyed Him even unto death, death on a cross.  We preach Christ crucified.  Far be it from us to boast except in the cross of Christ.
 
We preach Christ crucified because this is how you, O man, are reconciled to God.  There is no other way.  There is no other name by which you are saved, redeemed, rescued, and snatched out of the jaws of death and hell.
 
We were on a death march; headed for Hades.  Eternal death.  We were headed for annihilation, for utter destruction; the wages of our sin.  But we are saved.  Rescued.  Redeemed.  The Stronger Man bound up the strong man and plundered his house, and you are the possessions He took as His own.  You were bought by the One who sold all that He had in order to buy you.  Our wage is paid; not with gold or silver but with the holy precious blood of Jesus, by His innocent suffering and death.
 
You are not your own, o man.  You belong to another because another has purchased you.  Another has paid the price of your redemption.  So we preach Christ crucified.  Behold the man, o sinner.  This is your Lord and your God.  Far be it from us to boast except in the cross of Christ.
 
But Jesus is risen from the dead.  Death has no power over Him.  Today is not Easter, the chief holy day when the people of God celebrate the true crossing of the Red Sea from death to life, from slavery to freedom, but I haven’t let the cat out of the bag. We don’t have to pretend today that Jesus is hanging on the cross.  He’s not.  He is ascended to the right hand of power.  His are time and eternity, His are life and death.  He is Lord of all things.
 
And we preach Christ crucified.
 
Because the Lord of all who has been given dominion and authority over heaven and hell and everything in between, this Lord is the crucified Lord.
 
He gained the crown of heaven by being crowned with the thorns of hell.  He gained the scepter of God by being beaten with the rods of men.  He earned immortality by being obedient unto death.
 
And where were His disciples? Those men and women that followed Him about while He healed the sick and gave sight to the blind.  They are nowhere around.  They fled.  They abandoned Him.  Some came meekly back while He hanged on the tree, but it was too late then.  The die was cast; His lot was set by His Father.  The Son of Man went the way it is written of Him.
 
And that’s the point, o sinner.  You’re not in on this.  You didn’t design your salvation and you didn’t help in it.  God didn’t take council with you before the foundations of the world were laid to ask what you thought about His Christ.  He didn’t wait for your approval to make Jesus Lord of your life, He did it of His own free council.  You have no say in it.  This is the will of God.  This is the love of God.  This is the day the Lord has made.  And it is good.  Today the real Joseph is sold into slavery by His brothers and sent to the land of oppression.  But what men meant for evil, God meant for good.  For the one sold into slavery, the One hanged upon the tree, is also the One who feeds you who hunger and thirst for righteousness because of the famine of sin and rebellion.  The heavenly Joseph feeds you the true bread of heaven and gives you living water from a well that never dries up, but is overflowing.  He is the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that He gives for the life of the world is His flesh.
We preach Christ crucified. 
 
This is the love of God.  For God loved the world in this way, that He sent His only-begotten Son to save the world from sin and death by becoming sin for us and dying the death of a sinner.
 
That is why Jesus cries out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  A sinner departs from God.  A sinner is left without God.  So it was for the Son of God who became your sin.  So it was for the innocent Son of Mary who bore on His frame your lies and your greed, your hatred and your gossip, your adultery and your addictions, your pride and your arrogance.  He became the sinner and suffered what sinners suffer, separation from God; so that you the sinner would receive what a son receives, the inheritance of the Father, which is eternal life.
 
We preach Christ crucified.
 
This is the obedience of the Son.  For the Son did not come to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him.  He came to do His Father’s will.  He came to reconcile the world to God; to shine the light of life on we who were lost in the darkness of death.  And He has done this.  It is finished.  This is the will of His Father: that He should lose none of all the Father has given Him, but will raise them up on the last day.
 
So He sent His Spirit over the whole earth to gather to Him those from among the sons of men whom the Father has chosen and given to the Son.  He calls them by the gospel, which is the cross of Christ, enlightens them with His gifts, sanctifies them by His grace, and keeps them with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  And those called by the Spirit gather to Jesus as He Himself has said, “Where the body is, there the vultures will gather.”
 
It is good to contemplate the death of Jesus, the death of God’s own Son.  It is good to consider the nails and spear that pierced Him through, the cross He bore for me for you, this Man, this Son of Mary.  Befitting the kingdom of heaven that always turns everything upside down and calls things that are not as though they were, that reconciles sinners and proclaims life in the midst of death, befitting the kingdom is that here on this darkest of days in all time and space when the world would think we Christians are most to be pitied, for our God died, the refrain that sings the loudest is the refrain sung by heralding angels in the skies of Bethlehem: “Hail, the heaven born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
 
Behold, O man, your King!
 
Far be it from us to boast except in the cross of Christ.
 
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +