SERMON FOR GOOD FRIDAY AT NOONDAY, 3-29-2013
Vicar Kyle Backhaus

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, when they came to the place that is called the Skull, there they crucified him, and two criminals, one on His right and one on His left. And Jesus Said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Sin in all of its forms leads to one final punishment, Death. Romans 3 says that the wages of sin is death. It is only a matter of time before death and the grave comes for you and me. There is no way of escaping it. No amount of medicine or breakthroughs in science can ever rid the world of it. Ever since Adam and Eve, sin has been passed down to all people and the grave is the only inheritance that comes along with it. Every day we sin and go against the will of God, but those sins are only the symptoms of the underlying problem – the curse, which leads only to death.

SERMON FOR GOOD FRIDAY AT NOONDAY, 3-29-2013 Vicar Kyle Backhaus

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, when they came to the place that is called the Skull, there they crucified him, and two criminals, one on His right and one on His left. And Jesus Said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Sin in all of its forms leads to one final punishment, Death. Romans 3 says that the wages of sin is death. It is only a matter of time before death and the grave comes for you and me. There is no way of escaping it. No amount of medicine or breakthroughs in science can ever rid the world of it. Ever since Adam and Eve, sin has been passed down to all people and the grave is the only inheritance that comes along with it. Every day we sin and go against the will of God, but those sins are only the symptoms of the underlying problem – the curse, which leads only to death.


The two criminals show us a perfect picture of ourselves.  We deserve nothing but punishment for our sin.  Jesus, who was crucified between those two criminals, shows us how He lived His entire life. He lived among sinners just like you and me. He was tempted in every way that we are, yet He was without sin.  The thief on the cross recognized this when he said: For We indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.  He was crucified among criminals so that He may truly be the innocent among the guilty.  Jesus even while being executed was tempted by one of the thieves and those in the crowd, to use His divine power and come down from the cross: Save yourself and us, one criminal exclaimed.  But He did not, instead He continued to endure the curse of death.

This is the will of our Lord. The Lamb of God offers up Himself  just as the Father offers up His own Son.  It’s a tragic, gruesome, and vile sight.  Jesus has been tortured already. He suffered agony as He prayed in the garden, as He was betrayed by one of those closest to him. He suffered when He was arrested and underwent trials in front of both Herod and Pilate, while He is mocked and scorned, He suffered extreme brutality in the beatings, the flogging, and the crown of thorns.  Now He is at the place of The Skull, there He is hung on a cross.  It’s not a pretty sight.  The crucifixation of Jesus must have been hard to watch. 


For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  To make His people right again, the Son must offer up Himself as the atoning sacrifice. He is the true payment for all of sin. His death pays for your and my sins as well as for the sins of the whole world, since He suffered the same torture as the damned in hell. The sight of Jesus being beaten and crucified may have been hard to watch, but it is a beautiful picture of God’s love. For God the Father, sent Jesus to the cross so that we His people, might have everlasting life.  Our Lord Jesus was not defeated by His death on the cross.  Rather, He defeated death.  He crushed the skull of Satan.  He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him, who for their sake died and was raised.

 

There was no fighting between the Father and the Son.  Jesus, as true God and true Man, asked and begged and even demanded that the cup of His suffering be taken away.  But Jesus, as the God Man, did not have any will other than that of His Father.  That’s why He went willingly, so that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against us.  Our Lord gives up His own life to reconcile us, making right the world’s trespasses by taking them away.


It is only a matter of time before death and the grave come for you.  There’s no escaping it.  Death is an enemy of all and it will come to every single one of us.  But Our Lord’s victory over sin, death, and the devil on the cross takes the enemy of death and turns it around.  When our death comes, it may not be pretty, but no matter how death may come, it will be the way that our Lord uses to bring us to be with Him in Paradise.


One of the criminals sought Jesus on the cross.  He trusted that Jesus was able to help him.  He acknowledges Jesus’ innocence. That He was the innocent lamb of God hung between two criminals. The one criminal knows he’s done wrong.  He knows he is being rightly punished, yet he trusts in Christ:  “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus assures him: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  It is the same for us.  We know that we have only earned death and eternal punishment by our deeds.  But our Lord Jesus Christ assures us of something different: eternal life.  God’s gift of faith in Christ allows these words to be spoken to us. For when God chooses to call us home from this valley of shadows and death, truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Your baptism into Christ’s death makes the criminal’s words about Jesus also about you: “You have done nothing wrong.”  God’s righteousness placed upon you is exactly what this day, Good Friday, and the death of the Son of God, has accomplished. Amen

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a