Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday: Tenebrae

The readings were Psalm 2, Lamentations 1:1-15, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hosea 6:1-6, 1 Peter 2:21-25, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, and John 19:17-30, the last of which was the focus of the sermon. (Gribbit's church celebrates similar services.)
Our sin is darkness. But Jesus, the world's Light, receives us to Himself.

Pilate's inscription put a spotlight on Jesus' enemies, certain Jews who vehemently denied His deity in favor of their own version of Judaism. The irony: Jesus is THE great High Priest (Hebrews 9)! The unrepentant, then and now, who hate Christ's church, His body, will suffer His judgment.

Pilate himself is the second spotlight. He drew his final line in the sand (not far enough - he let Jesus be crucified by the will of a mob) over the inscription. Do principles have to be sacrificed like this to govern?

Third: the soldiers, sharing a little booty after another "routine" crucifixion. How could they? Look at yourselves. Do you take to heart the word of God, or do you delight in the trivial? Our Savior is with us each day! Values have changed - we should be considering His infinitely great worth, but we don't.

Fourth: Jesus Christ and His attention to the important. Even while He dies, He cares for His disciple (John) and mother. Finally, He finishes fulfilling all Scripture, submitting to His Father's total will with joy. "It is finished" = Paid In Full. He is in charge - He takes care of you and me. He has paid for all your and my iniquities.
Have a blessed Easter, rejoicing in the inexpressible gift of God our Father, having given His own Son Jesus Christ to justify and sanctify all those who believe in His name.

O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Your only crown.
O sacred head, what glory and bliss did once combine;
Though now despised and gory, I joy to call You mine.

What language can I borrow to thank You, dearest friend,
For this Your dying sorrow, Your mercy without end?
Bind me to You forever, give courage from above'
Let not my weakness sever Your bond of lasting love.

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