Good Friday Vespers, 2013, 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 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 Hymn #143 O Dearest Jesus 2:56
The Sermon – Bearing Our Sins
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45
The Hymn #151 Christ the Life 2:78
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.
Bearing Our Sins
One statement is often used to explain that everyone is the world has been forgiven and saved, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
KJV John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Luther treated this extensively in his commentary on Galatians, which is commended to all readers of the Book of Concord as their guide to justification by faith.
The point Luther makes is often lost on those who cannot grasp the efficacy of the Word or the Means of Grace. The Gospel is this very fact – that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world.
Every single form of punishment dealt to Him should be seen as part of bearing our individual sins, taking on the penalty for our sin.
A parallel explanation is “bearing the sins of the world.” This is not a logical puzzle for man to solve with his human reason. It does not mean that bearing the sins is the same as universal grace, universal forgiveness, universal salvation. Those who think this way become Universalists and then atheists.
Instead the cross is all grace, all forgiveness – that is – Christ is all grace and forgiveness. But this forgiveness, according to God’s wisdom, is distributed in one way only – through the Word of God, the message of the Gospel.
Strangely, many people talk about the Word of God but they do not want to teach the Gospel contained there. They have their own opinions, which fascinate them no end. They are like the banker who thought everyone should have citrus and ginger each day. He brought it around to people and insisted that they have their citrus and ginger – but only one citrus. (Birmingham, Our Crowd). He went to one a second time by mistake, and then said, “You already had yours,” and took it away. Why this was good for everyone is impossible to tell at this date, but it was vital to him.
So people get accustomed to the simple truths of the Gospel and invent something essential that they foist on everyone.
But this message of Isaiah and John is compelling for one particular reason, and that is vital for each person to hear.
When all the punishments and forms of torture are numbered –
- Whipping to the bone
- Carrying the cross
- Nailing to the cross
- Lifting up the cross for a slow suffocation death
- Cry of dereliction –
They point to one thing – those individual sins of ours are indeed paid for. We should not dwell on what the Romans did, what the religious opponents did, or what the followers failed to do.
We should meditate on what Christ did wash away our sins, to give us grace through this Means of Grace – the Gospel.
The largest part of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is the Way of the Cross, the last few days of Jesus’ public ministry.
The central message of Paul is Christ crucified.
That is the Gospel. If it means pointing out dearly He paid for our sins, then it also makes clear how they are completely taken away among believers.
Unbelievers have no grasp of this. The apostates make fun of the atonement. So do atheists. Two ELCA professors, still alive, are considered the greatest Lutheran theologians today. Both of them (Braaten, Jenson) joined in mocking the crucifixion in their giant dogmatics book (two volumes!). Why does WELS and Missouri work with them? The reasons are obvious. The apostasy of ELCA does not matter, except to prove how superior other sects are.
It does matter a great deal whether we believe the Word of God or not. Trust is everything. Our lives are based upon trust and promises. When I walk our wonder dog Sassy, she trusts my word. If I say “stay” she stands next to me until I let her walk again. If I say “come back” she immediately returns. If she sneaks into a neighbor’s backyard to explore, I say “GIT over here” and she comes back with a grin for having a little fun sniffing around. She trusts that I love her and care for her safety.
When we talk about going out, she walks into her little box and waits for her treat. She always gets something. She tries to get seconds too.
I find it odd that people would say, “Christ suffered all this, but no one needs to believe in Him. They are still righteous. They have been forgiven, saved, period. End of story.” (DP Buchholz)
To say faith does not matter turns the Gospel into a lie, because John’s Gospel was written, as he said, so that people would have faith, and in believing, have eternal life in His Name.
It also corrupts the meaning of faith as trust. Faith is not the same as virtue or human willpower or a decision, because God creates it through the Word of the Gospel.
Here is the comfort of the Gospel – believing is forgiveness. How does one believe? By hearing the Gospel, because the Holy Spirit is always at work in the Gospel.
How doe we know this is true? Two ways – One is our own experience in growing more confident in God through hearing the Gospel. Another is opposition – as soon as the Gospel gains a foothold, there is demonic opposition to it. Every possible fault is found, so much that people are disturbed by the conflict and made uncertain. These disturbances are good because they separate the good from the bad.
The crucifixion of Christ is the most disturbing, perplexing story of world religion. Back then and even now, people ask, “How can this be, that my sins are forgiven freely and completely, if I believe in Him and confess Him with my mouth?” And yet, this is the one and only religion of grace.
God gives instead of receiving from man.
God is gracious and forgiving rather than being demanding.
God forgives instead of condemning.
Good Friday Quotations
"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.