Good Friday Noonday Service, Luther Memorial Chapel, 4-3-2015
Vicar Zachary Marklevitz


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Those who were crucified in Jesus’ time were crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. This served as a warning to outsiders and symbolized how these guilty criminals were no longer part of the Jewish community. The people that were condemned by death on a tree were “out of place” with the rest of society. This communicated the punishment of being guilty before the civil law.


God also communicates the punishment of being guilty to His Law. James 2 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” Romans 3 says, “…[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death.” God’s law is unmistakable. We all are guilty!


    God is an impartial Judge. His judgment is not subjective to how we compare to others. Our sin will not be placed on a bell curve and there is no extra credit. Every thought, word, and deed will be exposed before Him. We all deserve the same punishment, which is to be damned eternally and to be out of place with God forever!

Good Friday Noonday Service, Luther Memorial Chapel, 4-3-2015
Vicar Zachary Marklevitz


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Those who were crucified in Jesus’ time were crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. This served as a warning to outsiders and symbolized how these guilty criminals were no longer part of the Jewish community. The people that were condemned by death on a tree were “out of place” with the rest of society. This communicated the punishment of being guilty before the civil law.


God also communicates the punishment of being guilty to His Law. James 2 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” Romans 3 says, “…[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death.” God’s law is unmistakable. We all are guilty!


    God is an impartial Judge. His judgment is not subjective to how we compare to others. Our sin will not be placed on a bell curve and there is no extra credit. Every thought, word, and deed will be exposed before Him. We all deserve the same punishment, which is to be damned eternally and to be out of place with God forever!

    God’s Law weighed on the conscience of one of the criminals that was crucified with Jesus. He recognized his sin and he was receiving what he justly deserved, capital punishment. He recognized that his sins were out of place with God’s Law. He knew his death was not in the hands of the executioner, but he was condemned by his Creator as his Judge. This criminal rebuked the other criminal and said, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?” Also, this criminal recognized something even greater. He noticed this man Jesus being crucified among criminals was out of place; for “this man [had] done nothing wrong.”

 

Jesus was out of place with more than just the criminals or the people of Jerusalem, but with all of humanity. He lived a perfect life. He kept the whole law. He embodied the glory of God by being God. How can a perfect life be condemned to the same punishment as the guilty? How is an innocent sinless man placed on a cross that is reserved for the shamed, the condemned, and the wicked? He is the Chosen One, the Christ of God! It is only He that can fulfill God’s work of redemption.


About the sixth hour darkness fell upon the land, the “sun’s light failed.” This darkness is out place at midday. The darkness fell upon the people to show that this day was different from the rest. This day, God’s work of redemption was completed. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two.” In the old covenant, the curtain separated God, the Holy of Holies, from His people. Only the high priest was permitted to go into the Most Holy Place, and he could enter only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. This curtain that once separated the Holy of Holies was now destroyed. The incarnated God, Christ Jesus, was the Holy of Holies, but was beset with our weaknesses. “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”


“Do [we] not fear God, since [we] are under the same sentence of condemnation?” We are dead men walking. We are on death row.


“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Even at the apex of His suffering, Jesus gives His steadfast love. His selfless love is out of place in a world that seeks revenge. He prayed for the Father’s absolution of the people that were crucifying Him! “For [God] desires steadfast love and not sacrifice.” Jesus “dealt gently with the ignorant and wayward.” We are the ignorant and wayward that has been dealt kindly by God in His absolution. Jesus is the chosen High Priest that came “to act on behalf of men in relation to God.” He, “being made perfect,” came among sinners.. In His perfection He took our place of punishment and became our sin. On the cross, He “became the source of eternal salvation.”


Jesus was out of place so that we could be made right before God. He did not look to save Himself as the King of the Jews. He came to save others and continues to save others. It is not our sacrifices, burnt offerings, or any other works that appease the wrath of God, for these are out of place as reason to secure salvation. Only the perfect love and work that is embodied in the person of Jesus saves us. His steadfast love was poured out in His blood. “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” Our Lord gives up His own life to reconcile us, making right the world’s trespasses by taking them away.


God raises us up that we may live before Him. In our baptism a new life begins in us. Romans 6 says, “We were buried…with [Jesus] by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” We have received the forgiveness of God in Christ and have been put in proper place. In this proper place, we are restored with a new life. This life we are covered in Christ’s perfection through His grace. His gifts are given to us in our baptism and the Lord’s Supper. When we approach the altar to receive the very body and blood of Christ, no curtain separates us from Jesus’ true presence. We have freely received a new life in Christ. 


“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” He came as man to save us from eternal damnation. In Christ, we “have done nothing wrong” before God’s judgment. Such a gracious judgment may seem “out of place,” but by God’s promise it is not. We, like the criminal on the cross, ask, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Our salvation is in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the sixth hour comes upon us, and darkness overcomes our bodies, Jesus says on the day of our death, “Truly, I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a