Friday, April 22, 2011
Good Friday Vespers, 2011
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time
The Hymn # 172 O Sacred Head 2:55
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 22 p. 128
The Sermon Hymn #143 O Dearest Jesus 2:56
The Sermon – Atonement and Forgiveness
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45
The Hymn #151 Christ the Life 2:78
Isaiah 52:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
KJV Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
KJV John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. 38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
For Holy Communion Preparation on Easter Sunday
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Atonement and Forgiveness
Today I was working on the great statements of the Book of Concord, turning some of them into graphics, so others would remember them and perhaps use them in various ways. Each graphic has a statement from the Book of Concord, either associated with its author’s portrait or its content.
The Book of Concord really means – The Book of Harmony. I used to make fun of all the Concordia names here and there. We even have a Concordia village for assisted living, not too far from us.
When I discovered how much disharmony there was in Luther-land, and how painful it was, I began to appreciate the beauty of doctrinal harmony.
All the passages of the Book of Concord fit together well, even though they come from various authors. The reason is – they faithfully teach what the Bible teaches, and that book is one unified Truth, with many authors, cultures, and times.
When I hear from my Jewish Lutheran friends, this harmony is especially memorable. Far back in time, their ancestors were chanting in Hebrew and looking for the promised Messiah. Now they have the unusual mission of representing the Jewish mission today, just by their existence. Their faith says, “We believe Jesus is the Promised Messiah.”
This ancient religion begins at Creation, with the Son of God as the Creating Word (Gen 1 and John 1). The first Gospel Promise is Gensis 3:15, when Adam and Eve (real people, not concepts or myths, as the NNIV teaches) were promised the Savior, who would crush the head of Satan.
The Old Testament patriarchs believed in the Messiah, too. Abraham believed, and it was counted as righteousness. The Prophets and King David offered hundreds of predictions about the Messiah, and every single one of them came true. We are enormously pleased with ourselves when one prediction comes through, and we hasten to forget the many that did not come true.
Only God could offer, in writing, hundreds of promises, and have them all fulfilled. This makes the prophecies all the more compelling – we see bits and pieces of them all over the Old Testament, never congregated in a single place. And yet, if we see how the Bible holds Jesus the way a cradle holds a baby (Luther), then we can see the Messiah in many other places as well.
One is the Angel of the Lord.
Another is where we see the Hebrew word “salvation,” which is the Hebrew version of Jesus’ name. In many places in the Psalms, we can replace “salvation” with “Jesus” and the verse makes sense. In fact, it makes even more sense.
Psalm 9:14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
Nothing upsets the apostates more than finding Christ in the Psalms and Isaiah. They have been trying to purge those associations for about 200 years, especially in the last 75. They would be so pleased if no believers remained, as long as everyone kept supporting the church institutions financially. Do not be offended. Many denominations today have no Christian content offered by their leaders, but they are keen on gathering money and even become temporary Fundamentalists on the issue of tithing.
This long preparation of God’s people for the Messiah meant that centuries of animal sacrifice would inform them about the innocent Lamb of God, Isaiah 53.
The Word of God teaches us about salvation strictly from God’s perspective and power. That is, God determined how mankind would be saved and put that plan into action, far beyond the counsel or wisdom of man.
We can see that because the Atonement of Christ is clearly portrayed in Isaiah 53. I have never found a group of children who missed the association with Christ – the spotless lamb, the silence before the shearers, the rejection and humiliation – all point to Christ. At the time, no one thought that to be true of the Messiah. When Jesus fulfilled all things, this reading from Isaiah became part of the New Testament. Almost every word of Is. 53 is found in the New Testament.
We can see how the 500 Old Testament references to sheep and shepherds were a preparation for the Good Shepherd. Nor should we think it is an accident to have Psalm 22 (about the crucifixion) just before Psalm 23, about the sheep and his Shepherd.
In other words, the more we know the Old Testament, the more we see the Gospel in the Old Testament.
God determined the solution for man’s sinful nature. He planned the giving of His beloved Son so that the Savior would redeem the sins of the world and be the ultimate sacrifice.
Even though evil men carried out the plan, God used all their evil for good. People received warnings about what they were doing. That only made them more obstinate and angry. And yet in the midst of this, God converted people through His Word. The soldier guarding the crucifixion was converted, saying, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” The repentant thief confessed his sin and his faith in Christ.
This too is God’s plan. Believing is salvation, not just the start of salvation. As the Book of Concord teaches, we are forgiven in believing, because of the power of the Word.
This is a great message of comfort – because the crucifixion reminds us of our sinful nature. Those are our sins He paid for, the only proper way to meditate on the meaning of the cross. Anyone who wants to lay the blame on the religious opponents or the Roman authorities has missed the point of Bible. God wants all men saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Blaming others is not repentance.
A contrite person has true Godly sorrow for sin, which takes many forms. All sin really begins with a lack of trust in God. If the Ten Commandments are utterly true, then breaking one of them in any way is a lack of trust in God’s wisdom. He commands what is good for us.
An honest evaluation of our nature means that we make up for our sinful nature by doing good things for others or whatever bargain we might want to make.
Forgiveness comes from believing that the Savior died on the cross for the sins of the world and for my sins. The Word convicts us, as Jesus promised, for not trusting utterly in Christ, in His mercy.
The comfort of the Gospel is the complete and full forgiveness He gives us through faith. Yes, faith is a good thing. The goal of the Bible is to proclaim the Promises so that we believe in them.
What about all that Law, all the threats and condemnation? The Law is necessary to soften our hearts and prepare them for an honest view of ourselves, a mirror that reflects our nature accurately. The Law leads us to Christ and the Good Shepherd directs us from there, serving God and our neighbor out of love rather than compulsion. Of course, we wander, like sheep, but the shepherd dog of the Law nips our heals and brings us back to the fold.
Am I forgiven by God of all my sins? Believing is forgiveness, as Luther taught from the Bible. The instant that the Gospel plants faith in our hearts, we receive that forgiveness, declared by God in His Word.