Is 52:13-53:12        2 Cor 5:14-21       Jn 18:1-19:42


From John 19- So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross to the place called the place of a skull…there they crucified him…Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”


“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.” Thus God again reiterates His promise of redemption through the words of His prophet Isaiah. This beautiful song about His suffering servant, the One whose life-blood is worthy to cover us, is bittersweet. For we have heard the Gospel, that there is free forgiveness from our dear Father in heaven on account of this one man. Such wonderful words! “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” O dear friend, what burden is there that He did not bear in His flesh for you? What terror of conscience, fear unto death, grief, or sorrow- that afflict us because of sin- is not comforted by each precious drop of blood that flows from His body?


Yet that very sweetness must come after a very bitter thing. For here He is, high and lifted up, on account of you. You have by your unbelief handed Him over to be crucified. Your sin marred His sinless body, flesh torn by flogging. You in your rebellion put on that crown of thorns to mock him. It is on account of your transgressions of the holy Law that nails hold Him to that cross. He who knew no sin, of whom the angels sang when He stepped forth onto this earth, is made sin for you. What burden do you carry? Is it sickness or worry? Is it a dark sin that stains your conscience? All these have come into the world because of one man’s sin, and we are no better for we do not in and of ourselves love God. But every sin, yes, even every consequence of sin is placed on Him.

Good Friday Tenebrae 2014
Is 52:13-53:12        2 Cor 5:14-21       Jn 18:1-19:42


From John 19- So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross to the place called the place of a skull…there they crucified him…Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”


“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.” Thus God again reiterates His promise of redemption through the words of His prophet Isaiah. This beautiful song about His suffering servant, the One whose life-blood is worthy to cover us, is bittersweet. For we have heard the Gospel, that there is free forgiveness from our dear Father in heaven on account of this one man. Such wonderful words! “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” O dear friend, what burden is there that He did not bear in His flesh for you? What terror of conscience, fear unto death, grief, or sorrow- that afflict us because of sin- is not comforted by each precious drop of blood that flows from His body?


Yet that very sweetness must come after a very bitter thing. For here He is, high and lifted up, on account of you. You have by your unbelief handed Him over to be crucified. Your sin marred His sinless body, flesh torn by flogging. You in your rebellion put on that crown of thorns to mock him. It is on account of your transgressions of the holy Law that nails hold Him to that cross. He who knew no sin, of whom the angels sang when He stepped forth onto this earth, is made sin for you. What burden do you carry? Is it sickness or worry? Is it a dark sin that stains your conscience? All these have come into the world because of one man’s sin, and we are no better for we do not in and of ourselves love God. But every sin, yes, even every consequence of sin is placed on Him.


“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”


Our Lord Jesus Christ, the servant of His Father, acts wisely and is exalted here on this cross as he is high and lifted up. He does not open His mouth even when the cry goes out “crucify Him!” When His lost sheep claim “we have no king but Caesar” He is silent before those that will shear Him, giving His back to those who strike and his cheeks to those who pull out the beard. (Is. 50:6) Yet despite their denial, He is enthroned here with His kingly title, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Where is His royal robe? It is being gambled for by soldiers, leaving Him on His throne in naked shame. His glorious crown is wicked thorns piercing His brow. The homage paid to this dear king is insults and spit. “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.” Yet Christ acts wisely, He does not listen to this false homage. What good would it be for these to believe in one who does not cover their sins? It would not serve them in what they truly need; it would bring no peace with God.


Yet all these deeds, the mockery, spit, and shame, all that we have done with the world in murderous intent toward this servant, is nothing compared to what the Father does. The great bitterness of this hour can be seen in this, while our sin provides the nails and slanderous accusations it is God that condemns and damns this man of sorrows. Another may carry out the sentence, but it is the judgment of the God that delivered the punishment. And it is on account of us that the Father wounds His own Son for our transgressions; He crushes this Lamb for our iniquities. Once on this mount Abraham was spared having to sacrifice his own son Isaac. But here the Father sacrifices His willing Son. He is smitten by God, by His dear Father, for you; since we like sheep have all gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; but God has laid on him the iniquity of us all. It was the will of the Father to crush him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, for the cup of wrath is poured out on Him and He drinks it to the dregs. Such bitterness in that cup, but it is bitterness that we will never know for we have the sweetness of Christ’s intercessions for us. It is, after all, a Good Friday.


“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”


Yes, this servant acts wisely when He is high and lifted up, and so He is exalted. There are two ways in which the Scriptures speak of glory. By reason we see one and speak of what is understood apart from faith. That a king is glorified and is exalted according to his power and majesty, this we can understand. This glory belongs to God because He is the Creator. But there is another kind of glory that cannot be understood apart from faith, that which belongs to the One who redeems our life from the pit. Out of the anguish of his soul, by the bearing of our iniquities, He makes many to be accounted as righteous for it is finished. Since he poured out his soul to death, he now makes intercession before the Father for the transgressors because it is finished. This cross is truly a throne of glory. Though an object meant to bring shame and death, through Christ it gives life and by it He is exalted for His suffering!
Just as the song of the suffering servant is bittersweet, so also this day has a plethora of emotions. It is not because there is more to do but because of how much was accomplished. We are cut to the heart when we see how great the demands of the Law are, that God Himself must die for us. Yet this bitterness is brief in comparison to the joy and gladness that is before us. It is after all, a Good Friday. The bitterness is soon covered over by sweetness. The blood and water flows from His pierced side. Christ cried out for thirst, but for you there is an ever flowing fountain of living water. By it life is given where there was death, for Christ has said “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Such sweet water is your baptism! For though Christ was baptized with a baptism of blood on the cross, you have by His Word and promise all the spoils that He has won in this wonderful water that flows from His side.
The blood that streams from His side, is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Is this not the very blood that washes you whiter than snow? It is the blood you receive in the cup of blessing; that which strengthens and preserves you in body and soul to life everlasting. Come what may in this life, this blood speaks a better word on your behalf, blood that flows from the cross. This blood declares us righteous. For though He was oppressed and afflicted, though He did not open his mouth, by this blood we open our mouths and pray to our Father in heaven. Never will we need to cry “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is finished, never will He leave us or forsake us!
Take heart then, you who have been baptized into His death, it is a Good Friday. All bitterness is passing, the sweetness is soon to follow! For the servant of the Most High has acted wisely, He has been high and lifted up, and has been exalted.
“It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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