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Traditional Lutheran worship services, using The Lutheran Hymnal and the KJV.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Service. April 6, 2012.
7 PM Central Time.




Good Friday Vespers, 2012, 7 PM Central Time


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 Lections                         

The Sermon Hymn #143            O Dearest Jesus  2:56  

The Sermon –     Prophecy Fulfilled, For Our Sake
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                           p. 45

The Hymn #151               Christ the Life            2:78

Isaiah 52:13 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.

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.



Prophecy Fulfilled, For Our Sake


Isaiah 52:13 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.


The Bible is filled with paradoxes, seeming contradictions. Apparently, humans are allergic to paradoxes and favor their removal. That is why heretics have turned Jesus, God and man, a paradox, into all-god (no human nature) or all-man (no divine nature). We cannot blame modern liberals, because this effort began as soon as the apostles began their work. Some could not accept His suffering or the fact of His human birth.

All this is the rational spirit at once. Instead of man asking, “Where did this marvelous computer come from, this brain of mine?” – he asks, “Why does the Bible go against my experience and my way of thinking?”

The Word of God, properly understood, is God’s revelation of the truth, using the human nature of mortal man. That is a paradox, because the human authors were not perfect, but they wrote down the Scriptures for us  - a perfectly harmonious Book of the Holy Spirit. As a book collector I can say that the most treasured books of mankind have a tortured history, so that we do not know what is the real Marco Polo book or the true Shakespeare.
Shakespeare scholars do not even agree on who Shakespeare is.

But the persecuted book of the Christians, the Bible, has been preserved with the best accuracy of all ancient books. Nothing can compare to it, whether we mean the Old Testament or the New Testament.

Of course, this does not suit mankind at all. The Bible businessmen take God by the shoulders and say, “See here. You did not mean this at all. The true meaning of this verse is something we can pull out of the air, ignoring the words You chose at the time. We hope you appreciate and bless our work. It’s all for You.” Thus – the ESV, NNIV, Holman, etc etc.

Isaiah Paradox
We should not be shocked that God often expresses His divine will in the paradox. Like Luther, we should place ourselves under the Word and let the Word teach us the truth. Heretics use filters and their own judgment. The clear, plain meaning of the Word should be treasured and remembered as it is.

52:13 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: 

Here is one paradox. The Suffering Servant is the Messiah. In His actions He will be honored in three ways – exalted, extolled, and lifted up above all others. However, He will be tortured and disfigured more than any person.

This is the basis for the Christian faith – God the Father exalts the Son for yielding to the savage nature of man, offering Himself as the sacrifice for man’s sins.

I remember my liturgics professor, Ulrich Leupold, talking about how “O Sacred Head” was really far more expressive in German than in English. He was talking the way people do about the famous Mel Gibson movie about the crucifixion – too violent, too gory. That is exactly what Isaiah revealed and Jesus fulfilled, because the Romans tortured Him horribly before the ultimate torture of the cross.

People turn away in horror from such scenes.

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.

In this sacrifice the Messiah will be like the sacrificial lamb in the Holy of Holies. The priests sacrificed the spotless lamb and used branches to sprinkle the audience with that blood.

Here is a paradox that the modern mind turns into a rationalism. The Son of God died for the sins of the entire world, for all time, so that many (not all) would be justified. The atoning death is the Gospel, and the Gospel declares righteous those who believe the Promises of God. Apart from faith, there is no forgiveness, so we have both “all” and “many” in the Bible. The Universalists and UOJ Enthusiasts say – all are absolved, all are forgiven, all are saints. The Calvinists say “Jesus died for some, so some are forgiven and saved.”

The paradox remains without a solution adequate for man, because “My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways.” (Isaiah 55)

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.

This next sentence gives me goosebumps each time, because it has been proven true so many times. We forget in America how powerful and significant a king is, even a figurehead king.

When we lived in Canada, they still had a Governor General. He was the Queen of England’s official representative, wherever he went. That meant he sat in a chair above (higher than) the Prime Minister’s chair, higher than any other chair at official functions. I got to introduce him at a church service, where it was arranged that everyone stand before he entered the room. No one sits in front of royalty, except by permission. To be seated when he entered the nave would have been disrespectful of royalty. That is the power of kings and queens, even in this age.

This tortured Servant will cause kings to shut their mouths. This is an expression found more than once in the Word. When people are unable to counter the truth, they simply shut their mouths, instead of talking, ordering, commanding, debating.

At a time when the entire world was ruled by emperors, kings, and chieftains, all with the power of life and death over their subjects, the Servant will cause them to be silent. They will see things (in the Word) they never imagined. They will hear the Gospel which they have never heard before.

Only three centuries after Christ, Constantine ruled over the entire civilized world. And he honored himself, using this title – Equal to the Apostles. True, that was a bit grand, but it is also a paradox. He wanted to be associated with the first followers of this Suffering Servant, exalted for being brought low.

Charles the Great, aka Charlemagne, was the greatest ruler of his age, and he was also a Christian, 500 years after Constantine. Although an English king had Tyndale executed, the next king (a nitwit in many respects) gave us the KJV and in doing so the standard of the English language. Thus a king can become a servant in that respect and honor the King of Kings.




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.

The most ignored passage of the Old Testament became a foundational one for the New Testament. How can anyone believe this proclamation?

The proclamation is the Gospel itself, which shows how God has worked our salvation.

The Servant has no physical appeal, no reason that people would be attracted to Him. There are people who automatically attract attention for being striking in appearance – tall, graceful in movement, beautiful, athletic. Jesus could have been like that, but that would have gathered people because of outward appearances rather than the Word. So He looked ordinary to most people and worst of all, was treated so horribly that no one wanted to see the results of the torture and crucifixion. The whipping alone should have killed Him, yet He was forced to carry the cross, the worst form of punishment devised by man.

All the smart people today reject Jesus as dying for our sins. They make Him a prophet, a teacher, a leader, but not the Lamb of God. They turn away from Jesus in the revelation of the Word and substitute their own thoughts. They look in a well, see their own reflection, and say, “Aha! I have seen the true picture of Jesus!” They sell a lot of books that way. One founder of the blasphemous Jesus Seminar (ultra radicals within the visible church) became an atheist. He made a good living and reputation for himself along the way. I forgot that he existed until someone brought it up on the Net.

Orthodox Christians, sincere believers, are scorned today. That is consistent with bearing the cross.

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.

This is the paradox – that all the suffering of Christ was for our benefit. That is the Good in Good Friday.

Children always pause and ask, “How can that day be called Good Friday?” The reason is not the injustice and cruelty but the atonement, the redemption.
The cross has a double-message in this respect, as Luther observed.

Every painful moment points toward our own sin, because Jesus died for our sins, not for His.

But these precise descriptions are also Gospel because He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our sins, punished to bring us peace, whipped so that we might be healed.

The Law is good, useful, and spiritual, but the Law does not heal, forgive, or give us power to serve God in thanksgiving.

The Gospel constantly works in believers to do God’s will. First of all, it is forgiveness, the righteousness of Christ receive in faith. The Gospel heals us with this forgiveness. The Law makes us dwell on the past, but the Gospel erases those sins from God’s knowledge and memory.

Our human problem is seeing the Gospel as objectively true. Believers are forgiven even if they do not feel it at the moment, because the Gospel works forgiveness – our emotions do not.

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.

And yes, we have a weak faith. That is one way to get to people. You have a weak faith. Luther explained that a piece of gold might be in a scrap of paper or in an iron safe, it is still gold. Trust in Christ can be weak at times, but He is the same Christ. Or someone may not know the non-reciprocity of the second genus, but he is still a believer. Man wants to emphasize man in justification by faith, when God glorifies Himself by showing us it belongs to Him to declare this sentence – forgiven through Christ, received in faith.

God gives us experiences to trust in Him more thoroughly. When that trust wavers and we doubt, He shows us how He was active, even in the midst of difficulties, pain, and sorrow. He shows us how He was answering our prayers before we thought to ask.  And He answers them more generously than we can hope or imagine.

These Old Testament prophecies help us in our faith, because we can see how God fulfilled every single Old Testament promise – precisely. And those promises and predictions are scattered all over the Old Testament: Genesis, the Psalms, Isaiah. The Christmas prophecies are fascinating because each one is taken from a different place, often from books we tend to overlook.
Jesus did not fight against His accusers. His demeanor was astonishing. He told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. He told the religious leaders that He was indeed the Son of God and that He could launch the legions of angels against them, but He did not.

When the crowds of Good Friday railed against Him, He did not rail against them.

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. 

This happened for our forgiveness. Verse 9 is a perfect description of the death and burial of Christ. He was delivered to death as a wicked criminal, displayed before the crowds, but He was buried as if wealthy. His grave was carved out of stone and never used before – a place for the rich, not for a penniless criminal.

That alone should stun any doubter and remind us of how God works. So many long for the power of money and technology in the visible church. I even heard a speaker say, “If only we had the multi-media devices I saw at McDonald’s headquarters.” He was in awe of that, but not in awe of the bare, naked Word.

Did Luther translate the New Testament in a five-star hotel, with room service, or in a lonely, dank and abandoned castle?

Did Bunyan write the Pilgrim’s Progress in a palace or a prison?

he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

This is a foreshadowing of Isaiah 55. The Word of God will prosper and accomplish His will. Whatever is done in faith glorifies God.

One pastor confessed to me that he was miserable in tiny town, in a small parish, away from all the bigshots. Worst of all, his members were not professionals – they were not lawyers, CPAs, and professors. How could they appreciate his learning?

I said, “That should not matter one little bit. It is a test of whether you can teach in spite of your learning. Besides, the professional class is much better at playing corporate games and they often imagine they know it all already.”

The pleasure of God is to see people believe with a sincere faith, to hunger for His righteousness.

This is the power of the Gospel of Christ, to count us forgiven for believing in Him, and to give us the energy to do His will.

Good Friday
 
"Thus, we know how and where the Holy Spirit is to be found, and we need not be in doubt nor waver, gazing here and there for special revelations or illuminations.  Each one should hold to the Word, and should know that through it alone, and through no other means, does the Spirit enlighten hearts and is He ready to dwell in them and to give true knowledge and comfort through faith in Christ."   
          Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, III,  p. 300. 

Not for Us To Judge Results

"Be not worried because of this! for even though a man preach and continue in the Gospel for many years, he must still lament and say:  Aye, no one will come, and all continue in their former state.  Therefore you must not let that grieve or terrify you."      
          Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 305. Easter Tuesday Luke 24:36‑47.       

"But when St. Peter stood up and preached, they made a mockery of it and considered the apostles drunken fools.  When they had urged the Gospel a long time, they gathered together three thousand men and women.  But what were they among so many?  Yea, no one could discern that the Gospel had accomplished anything, for all things continued in the same state as before.  No change was seen, and scarcely anyone knew that there were Christians there.  And so it will be at all times."
          Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 306. Easter Tuesday Luke 24:36‑47.     

God Builds with the Word

"The Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are materials with which He builds. Though the dwelling is not altogether completed, yet through His grace and love it is accepted of God."
          Sermons of Martin Luther, III,  p. 322. 

Only the Word

"Secondly, it is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken beforehand, and that afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the Word.  One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but one who comes with and through the Word and goes no farther than the Word goes."
           Sermons of Martin Luther, III, p. 329. 



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