Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Service

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. 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.

NIV John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." 7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" 11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others-- one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." 22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37 and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

Good Friday

Hymn #174
The Invocation p. 5
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 6
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 7
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 9
The Epistle and Gradual Isaiah 52:12ff.
The Gospel John 19:1ff.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Apostles Creed p. 12
Sermon Hymn #172
The Sermon
The Little Gospel
The Votum
The Offertory p. 12
The Prayers and Lord's Prayer p. 13
The Benediction p. 14
The Closing Hymn #52

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.


People confused about justification by faith write, “What happened on Good Friday?” They fail to see the difference between the sacrificial act of Christ and the proclamation of that act. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, for you and for me. That is the Gospel message. The proclamation of the Gospel message is a work of the Holy Spirit, declaring to all those who believe in Christ that their sins are taken away.

Every child knows the meaning of this Old Testament prophesy. It was written centuries before Christ was born. Imagine someone from King Arthur’s Court predicting what would happen today. That is how distant this prophesy was (not in exact years), so far back in time that one can hardly imagine so many years. And yet, these verses, in fact the entire chapter is a vivid portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ.

Paul uses this verse in Romans 10, teaching us that faith comes by hearing. To be more accurate, he is saying that faith comes by preaching. It is not the act of hearing itself that brings about faith but the Holy Spirit working through the spoken Word of God. Faith comes by sermons, we might say. Who has believed our sermon?

KJV Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God’s love for His people was so great that He began preaching the Gospel to us when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden (Genesis 3:15). If Isaiah was early, think how ancient those words are that we remember tonight. God said to the serpent, “You will bruise his heel, but He will crush your head.”

From the beginning God placed faith in the hearts of people through the spoken Word. Most of the time He entrusted this Word to prophets. Christ appointed apostles who then trained pastors to serve under them. I know one person who does not accept any sermon as the Word of God. He said he can only be taught by direct quotation of Scripture. But Jesus said, “Whoever hears you hears Me.”

KJV Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

Some people did not even pay attention to Jesus, who taught them:

KJV John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life

So we are inclined to say, “Who is this, a mere man, to tell us what God thinks and says?” But that is exactly what pastors have been called by God (through the congregation) to do. In the same way the head of the household is placed in that role to teach his family the Word of God. True, many men despise this role and reject it. But it is still God’s decision and appointment, God’s Creation and order. Those who acknowledge this as good and wise will benefit from it.

Faith grows from hearing the Gospel promises. The last two verses in this section are especially noteworthy in a remarkable chapter:

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.

Verse 4 tells us how terrible the crucifixion would be. Verse 5 teaches us what the crucifixion means. It would have a purpose. The Son of Man would be wounded to pay for our sins, beaten for our evil. His whipping would be to give us peace through the forgiveness of sins. “By His stripes we are healed.”

For those who believe in Jesus, and this comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word, these words are a great comfort. We already know this, but in hearing it again our faith is deepened.

Luther has two very good points to make about the crucifixion. One is that we should never dwell upon the cross in this way, saying, “Look at what those Jews and Romans did to the perfect Son of God!” That is all wrong and contrary to this lesson. Instead we should say when we meditate on the cross, “Look at what I did to Jesus. Those are my sins that He bore. I was the transgressor and He was whipped. I rebelled against God’s Law and He was humiliated and mocked. I am the cause of His suffering.” Otherwise, although the Romans and the Jewish leaders played a role, we miss the whole concept of His atoning death. If Jesus died because of THEIR sins and not because of MY sins, then I am not expressing faith in the cross.

Secondly, Luther correctly taught that the surest form of sorrow for sin is not weeping, or feeling bad, or outward and emotional signs of repentance. No, the surest sign of genuine repentance (a work of the Holy Spirit and not from our own efforts) is when we are forgiving toward others. Whenever we stew about wrongs committed against us, and many of these things do happen, since we do them to others as well, then we are saying, “I would like to enjoy complete and free forgiveness of my sins, but I will not give an ounce of mercy to anyone else.” That is a failure to grasp the meaning of forgiveness, a failure to be thankful for forgiveness.

Why did Jesus die on the cross? He was tortured to give us peace, not agitation. The first step is taking away our sins through His atoning death. God says, “Here is a great Treasure, an infinite source of forgiveness, the cross of My beloved Son, where He poured out His blood for your sins.” The more God teaches us this great truth, the more we trust it and grasp it as the greatest and most life-giving truth on earth. Through this trust in our hearts created by the Word God grants us forgiveness. God says, “You must do one thing absolutely to receive the forgiveness of sins. You must believe the Gospel of forgiveness.” In believing and holding on to this truth, we receive the what the promise offers.

In practicing this forgiveness we enjoy a double blessing. It is far better to be forgiving than to be full of revenge. (Unfortunately, it is also much more difficult, but it gets easier with practice.) And in addition—this is the second blessing—the person forgiven also enjoys this peace of God. Revenge and bitterness are doubly difficult on people, both in giving and receiving. It is very contagious. I knew one family where the youngest child was a blond angel. She was very sunny all the time. Not one day. I was at their home when she stormed in and whacked her older sister for some slight on the way home from school. It’s hard to sort out. One child said eloquently, “He hit me back first.” Somebody started something and it gets escalated. It spirals out of control, as we see all the time on the news. For those of us who care nothing for soccer – why would anyone riot at a soccer match?

To enjoy this blessing of forgiveness, we have to dwell on the meaning of the cross of Christ rather than whatever annoys us at the moment. I don’t mean to minimize this, because some people have really been the victims of various kinds of assault and robbery. I knew a woman who was beaten almost to death for a few dollars in the cash register. However, when we think about the immensity of God’s forgiveness of all of our sins, then we can be more expansive in forgiving others. We can do that for two reasons. One is that forgiveness is not wasted. If someone is forgiven and yet goes on doing more bad things, then God will add up the totals later. God is just and will be not be mocked. Secondly we can be forgiving because we need to be in that pattern of behavior, which belongs to Christ, rather than following the unbelieving world in exacting revenge.

The first place to begin practicing this forgiveness earned for us by Christ is within our own homes. That is where the greatest and most important conflicts arise. When we apply this lesson of forgiveness, we enjoy the benefits and see its blessings in our children, who also have the peace that passes understanding from this message of the Gospel.

Link to Live Worship Service, Good Friday, 1 PM Phoenix Time.

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