On the Death of Our Lord
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Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
March 30, 2013
Description

 

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

God is love. And this is how He loves us: He gave His only-begotten Son to hang upon the cursed tree so that we can sit in the shade and eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.

This is the reason the Son of God appeared: to undo the works of the devil. That is why He went about healing and raising the dead and cleansing the lepers. Sickness, death, and disease, these are works of the devil. The Son of God came to undo them. He came to restore all things. Even more, He came to make them new.

And He says it best, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. You are the fruit of Jesus’ death. His death has produced you: sinners who cannot be accused of sin. Liars who cannot be accused of lying. Wicked men and women who are called righteous and holy. All because this Man, the Man, laid down His life for you, taking all your sin and shame, all your guilt and wickedness as His own. So that now your sin is His. The lies you tell, the hatred you feel, the lust that burns within, they are Jesus’ lies and hatred and lust. And He suffered and died because of them. And because He suffered and died for them, you are free from them.

It is a great exchange. The great swap. The righteous for the unrighteous. The holy for the unholy. The saint for the sinner. Your sin is gone, nailed to the tree and buried.

That is what it means to live in holy baptism; to daily drown the old Adam with all sin and wickedness. It doesn’t mean to try and overcome sin, because you can’t. It doesn’t mean to try and do better, because even if you can do better for a while, you will fall again. To drown the old Adam with all sins and evil desires is to look upon Him whom we have pierced. For He was wounded for our transgressions and the iniquity of us all was laid on Him. You can’t overcome sin, but the death of Jesus does. Sin no longer has dominion over you.

Our trouble is that we think that means we won’t sin. No. It means that sin no longer controls the outcome. Sin has been paid it’s wage in the death of Jesus. It is not that our sins are harmless or without shame, it is that even when they harm us and bring us shame, they do not condemn us. They do not condemn you because you have the blood of Jesus as your covering and shield.

And by His blood, He makes you new. Having been washed in His blood, you are a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come. And the new creation, unlike the old Adam, praises God and offers right sacrifices. Not sacrifices of blood, that was our Lord’s business. But rather we offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. We sing the praises of Him who died upon a tree. Not because we glory in death and executions, but because we glory in the cross of Christ, which is our salvation and redemption.

We rejoice in the cross of Christ when we receive His blessed body and blood given and shed for our forgiveness and now given for our life. We rejoice in the cross of Christ when we hear and receive the words of the Lord’s servants, “I forgive you all your sins.” The forgiveness we hear and receive is the fruit of the cross. The cross undoes the work of the devil.

The seed has fallen to the ground. Jesus died. But from the death of the seed comes a living tree. The seed is no longer alone, but from Him comes His brothers and sisters, holy people for a holy God.

God is love. And this is how He loves you, by giving His only-begotten Son to hang upon the cursed tree so that you can sit in the shade and eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.

+ In Nomine Iesu +