Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lenten Sermon Series by Rev. Dan Dahling

By Larry Beane

No, Gottesdienst has not gone the way of the world where Christmas decorations appear before Reformation Day and by the beginning of Advent, the St. Valentine's Day paraphernalia makes its way to the shelves.

However, as we are approaching Advent and a new church year, some of y'all may be in planning mode.

One of the great benefits I enjoy as the Sermons Editor of the print edition is that I am exposed to quite a variety of sermons and preachers, approaches to texts, and different styles of proclaiming the Good News.  I have the honor to select a sermon or two for each quarterly issue.

Of course, there is a lot of great preaching out there.  I can't possibly include everything worth reading, studying, or meditating upon in only eight or so sermons a year.

So, I'm going to use Gottesdienst Online to present a Lenten sermon series (in outline form) graciously offered to us for publication by the Rev. Daniel Dahling of Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church in Decatur, Indiana.  In Pastor Dahling's own words:

I have a unique Lenten series that I wrote a few years back entitled “Jesus I will ponder now”. It is a series based on eight chorales written by Sigismund v. Birken & Johan Sebastian Bach. The sermon is structured around a hymn stanza or a chorale as the lines of the hymn become the outline of the sermon. The congregation sang the hymn verse as the sermon hymn and on occasion, the choir sang the verse. In this way the congregants were able to read the verse, sing it, and meditate on it during the service. The series was preached at Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church in 2006 and at St. John, Bingen during a vacancy in 2008. Would you be interested in reviewing or using this series?

So, with Pastor Dahling's blessing, I'm presenting below the overview and the sermons (six midweek, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday) as he preached them at Zion Friedheim in 2006.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Celebrating our 168th Year

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

“Jesus I will Ponder Now”
A Lenten series based on six Chorales written by Sigismund v. Birken & Johan Sebastian Bach

March 1, 2006 - Ash Wednesday - Luke 18:31-34

Stanza #5       If my sins give me alarm
TLH #140       And my conscience grieve me
Birken             Let Thy cross my fear disarm
                        Peace of conscience give me
                        Grant that I may trust in Thee
                        And Thy holy Passion
                        If His Son so loveth me
                        God must have compassion

March 8, 2006 – Mid-week #2 – John 18:12-14

Stanza #3       Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
TLH #140       Make me see Thy Passion
Birken             But its cause to me make known
                        And its termination
                        Ah! I also and my sin
                        Wrought Thy deep affliction
                        This indeed the cause hath been
                        Of Thy crucifixion.

March 15, 2006 – Mid-week #3 – John 18: 15-27

From Bach’s         Peter gave it scarce a thought
St. John Passion    When he God rejected;
                        At Christ’s look, he fled, distraught,
                        Weeping and dejected.
                        Jesus fix Thy gaze on me,
                        True repentance teach me,
                        When Thou evil there doth see,
                        Through my conscience reach me.

March 22, 2006 – Mid-week #4 – John 19:5

From Bach’s         Jesu, who for me didst die,
St. John Passion    Livest now forever.
                        When my hour of death draws nigh,
                        Let me waver never.
                        May I e’er to Thee be turned,
                        O my faithful Savior!
                        Give me but what Thou hast earned,
                        More I do not pray for.

March 29, 2006 – Mid-week #5 – John 19:23-27

From Bach’s         He of everything took heed
St. John Passion    In his hour of dying
                        Caring for His mother’s need,
                        On His friend relying.
                        O man, do all things aright
                        Love God and thy neighbor,
                        Die then without pain and fright
                        Rest from care and labor.

April 5, 2006 – Mid-week #6 - John 19:31-37

From Bach’s         Help, O Christ, Thou God’s own Son,
St. John Passion    Through Thy bittern anguish.
                        That our wills with Thine be one,
                        Zeal for evil vanquish.
                        On Thy death and its true cause
                        Contrite thoughts will render,
                        And Though weak and full of flaws,
                        Thee our thanks will tender.

NB: M. Thursday 4/13/’06; G. Friday 4/14/’06; Easter 4/16/’06elp He

Ash Wednesday
March 1, 2006
Jesus I Will Ponder Now
Luke 18:31-34

Introduction: Today we begin a six week process of observing our Savior’s Passion, suffering and death during the discipline of Lent. Under the theme: “Jesus I will Ponder Now” we will focus on six aspects of the Savior’s Passion as rendered and presented in six beautiful Chorales – four of which were penned by Johan Sebastian Bach. It is my prayer that as we focus on Jesus’ suffering through Scripture and song we will grow in a deeper appreciation of what Jesus has won for us on the bloody and cruel cross of Calvary.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus explains to His disciples, “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” {V.31}
As we consider Jesus’ Passion we observe His work in terms of sin and grace.

I. If my sins give me alarm and My conscience grieve me.

A. It is sin which causes us to be alarmed

1. Sin of commission –committed and done by

a. Thoughts

b. Words

c. Actions

2. Sins of omission

a. When we had opportunity to do good but failed.

b. When we could have prevented sin but failed to act or didn’t want to get involved, or the time was not convenient.

B. Our conscience is troubled when we consider past wrongs, failures, and the nagging question, “What will God do to me at the end of my days?”

Transition: How do we receive a clean conscience and peace of mind? Our hymn verse gives us a clear answer.

II. Let Thy cross, my fear disarm peace of conscience give me.

A. The cross of Christ disarms our fears.

1. At The cross the wrath of an offended God was poured out on Jesus Christ God’s own Son.

2. Paul puts it this way; “God was in Christ reconciling us to the Father not counting our sins against us…” 2 Corinthians 5:19

3. As Christ has taken our sin there is nothing for us to fear.

B. Peace of conscience is what Christ alone can give.

1. He gives us His peace – “Peace I leave thee, My peace I give thee…” -John 14:27

2. This is the only peace which will sustain us – all other forms or attempts at peace - pale in comparison.

Transition: Christ suffered for us once for all. Yet the Devil will attempt to trip us up reminding us again and again of past failings. He will quote for us chapter and verse where we have sinned. That’s why we need a continued reminder of Christ’s work.

III. Grant that I may trust in Thee and Thy holy Passion.

A. All Jesus asks of us is to trust Him.

1. Trust is nothing more then another word for faith.

2. Faith is nothing more then taking God at His word.

B. We trust that what Christ accomplished at the cross is all that is needed to win for us salvation.

1. Jesus’ words: “It is finished!” says it all!

a. There is nothing left to be done. Jesus did it all at the cross.

b. Trusting in Jesus’ work and merit is what our faith must focus.

Transition: As we focus on what Jesus has done we learn an eternal truth – the love and compassion of Christ.

IV. If His Son so loveth me God must have compassion.

A. Smile - God loves you! Best summed up by Christ Himself in John 3:16-18

B. He has had compassion. The Passion of the Christ is motivated by the Father’s compassion for a fallen world. When He gave up His own Son He did the very best. The Father shows that;

1. He cares for us

2. He loves us

3. He sent us His own Son who redeemed this world to save us.

Conclusion: As we begin the discipline of Lent we focus on Jesus’ Passion. He has redeemed us lost and condemned creatures and has purchased and won us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. A great and mighty wonder is to unfold during this Lenten season we watch in awe and wonderment.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Jesus I will Ponder Now
March 8, 2006
Mid-week #2
John 18:15
“Simon Peter also followed in Jesus’ path and another disciple”

Introduction: Following Jesus’ arrest in the garden Peter and John follow behind the soldiers as Jesus is lead to Annas. Annas just so happened to be the father-in-law of Caiaphas – who had been appointed to serve as high priest.

It wasn’t left to chance that Jesus was sent to have an audience with Annas. Annas was the principle player within the Jewish Council. He made sure to keep a power hold within the court, keeping tight control within his family power base.

History tells us that four of Annas's sons were among those who succeeded him. His son-in-law, Caiaphas, held office from A.D. 18 until 36, during the time of Jesus' active ministry.
Although others held the priestly office, Annas seems to have been the elder statesman and the power behind the throne.

Together these two men; Annas and Caiaphas, brokered much influence within the temple and the court - It was Caiaphas who had given counsel and warning to the Sanhedrin that it was expedient that one man should die for the sake of the people. -John 18:14

Peter and John follow behind – they desire to see what will occur next.

I. With Peter and John we view Christ’s Passion.

A. “Yet, O Lord, not thus alone make me see Thy Passion.”

1. During this holy season we meditate on what Christ did and endured to earn our salvation.

2. We mark His arrest, trial, suffering and crucifixion.

B. “But its cause to me make known and its termination.”

1. The cause for which Christ was arrested, tried, scourged and crucified was to win for me salvation.

2. When Christ died – all of our sin died. Our sins, with all evil lusts were all drowned and killed.

Transition: But we do more then merely observe Christ’s action. We recall, affirm and believe what Christ has done. He suffered and died that I may receive salvation and life.

II. We also recall the impact of Christ’s suffering.

A. “Ah! I also and my sin wrought Thy deep affliction.”

1. It was my sin and mine alone which caused Jesus to suffer and die.

2. It is my sin which caused me to be separated from the Father, from Christ, and my neighbor.

B. “This indeed the cause has been of Thy crucifixion.”

1. Christ suffered for me because I can do nothing to earn my salvation. My sin robs me of fellowship with God or with my neighbor. “Lord if You should mark iniquity who shall stand…” -Psalm 130:3

2. Because Christ has suffered for me and on my behalf I now enjoy the blessings that come from Christ’s bloody cross; salvation, forgiveness, life eternal.

Conclusion: Peter and John remain in the wings to see what will transpire next. What happens is that Jesus is abandoned by God and by men to take on our sin to Himself and thus win for us salvation. “Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood be for my soul the highest good.”*

- I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table” from The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

March 15, 2006
Jesus I will Ponder Now
Mid-week #3
John 18:15-27

Introduction: The story of Peter is your story. It is also my story. Peter is so strong; so sure of himself, so bold – yet so often he stumbles, fumbles, flops and falls. Johan Sebastian Bach in a beautiful chorale tells a powerful account concerning Peter’s failure. Let’s see how the story unfolds.

I. “Peter gave it scarce a thought when he God rejected.”

A. Peter was so sure of himself. He felt secure in his faith.

1. After all, he was one of the twelve and of the twelve, one of the three whom Jesus gathered together to be part of His inner circle.

2. He was fixed firmly in his own ability to stand confidently with the Savior. Just hours before Jesus’ arrest in the garden Peter had pledged his loyalty to the Savior. “And [Simon Peter] said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. But Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, before a [single] cock shall crow this day, you will three times [utterly] deny that you know Me.” - Luke 22:33-34

B. When he would eventually deny the Savior he thought he was only finding a limb on which to climb. It was for him a way of “saving face.” “I wasn’t really denying my Lord,” he could argue, “It was merely a case of “mistaken identity.” Peter said to the crowd, “You’re talking to the wrong man!”

1. What happens in our life? – Do we give a “false witness” when we, for example, compromise clear Biblical principles in order to fit in at work, or at school? What price will we pay to acquire acceptance, approval, acquiescence?

2. Every time we sin willfully we are doing nothing short of what Peter did on that fateful night.

3. Like Peter we often “give it scarce a thought” when we compromise principle for convenience or for what is expedient at the time.

C. We too are tempted.

1. In the beginning we are tempted [by the Devil] - to think - “it’s nothing.”

2. In the end we are told [again, by the Devil] - “it can’t be forgiven.”

Transition: It was bad enough for Peter to deny his Lord. But upon looking into the eyes of the Savior Peter was seized with guilt. Luke reminds us: “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord how He had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.” (Luke 22:61) With one look Peter’s world crumbled!

II. “At Christ’s look he fled distraught, weeping and dejected.”

A. Confronted by his denial Peter was crushed.

1. This is what the Law does to us.

2. It is a necessary ingredient in preaching!

B. We too are crushed when confronted with the Law.

1. Nathan said to David “Thou art the man” - 2 Samuel 12:7

2. Contrition and repentance are necessary for restoration and forgiveness.

Transition: As Jesus fixed His gaze on Peter thus He must look on us.

III. We ask Jesus to “look on me” – “Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” – Psalm 51:11

A. “Jesus fix Thy gaze on me”

1. Press me, pursue me.

2. Never let me go! “I will never leave Thee nor forsake Thee” -Hebrews 13:5

B. “True repentance teach me” Remember the 5 “R’s” of repentance…

1. Responsibility – we own up to our sin.

2. Remorse – we are heart sorry.

3. Repair – we attempt to fix what we’ve broken - inasmuch as we are able.

4. Repeat not! – We don’t return to visit!

Note: These four steps; leading to repentance, come from Dr. Laura Schlesinger, she’s a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. She suggests; quite convincingly, that this is all we need to right a wrong. Yet, one component is missing. A 5th step is necessary; the final step, which separates Christians from the rest of the world; a step, which turns from following rules to establishing a relationship with God Himself. The 5th step necessary:

5. Reconciliation - through Christ alone!

Transition: Repentance is not merely a one time act – it must be a daily process. Thus we pray…

IV. “When Thou evil there doest see through my conscience reach me.”

1. Jiminy Cricket from Disney’s ‘Pinocchio’ would suggest to us; “let your conscience be your guide”

2. Our text would suggest even stronger let your conscience and the cruel and bloody cross of Calvary be your guide!

Conclusion: After the resurrection Peter and Jesus had another heart to heart meeting. Three times Jesus would ask Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John would remind us in his gospel account, “Peter was grieved because Jesus said to him for a third time do you love Me?” – John 21:17

Roman Catholics maintain that Peter was the first Pope. To this day Protestant parishes in Europe will place a rooster instead of a cross on the top of their spires as a not so friendly reminder of Peter’s seedy past. Not much has changed over the years. Have there been instances in our lives when we have not acted as becomes a child of God? Have you had to be reminded of that moment only to relive it once again?

Each of us can recall those moments in our lives in which we are not proud! Peter’s’ denial crushed him – but what he found was restoration by the Savior!

Peter’s freedom came at a price – the price of Jesus’ life. To be crushed by conscience and the Law is never a pleasant thing. But Christ’s redemption leads to recovery – to be reconciled to the Father and also to each other – all has been made possible by the Savior’s amazing grace!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Jesus I will Ponder Now
March 22, 2006
Mid-week #4
John 19:5
When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, Behold the man!

Introduction: “Behold the man!” That’s what Pilate said. Who is this Jesus? How will you perceive Him? How will you react to Him? What has He done to deserve all this? Our chorale for this evening penned by Johan Sebastian Bach gives us much to contemplate.

I. Behold, the Savior of the world. Jesu, who for me didst die, Livest now forever.

A. Christ died –

1. He died for every sinner.

2. He died for me!

B. But now He lives –

1. Death could not hold Him.

2. He now lives and reigns through all eternity.

II. Behold Him who will hold us in death. When my hour of death draws nigh, Let me waver never.

A. Each must face death.

1. It is appointed for man once to die and after that face judgment. -Hebrews 9:72

2. Death is a curse which sinful humans have brought upon themselves. “The soul that sins it shall die.” - Ezekiel 18;4,20

B. Yet we can face death confidently in Jesus.

1. Because Christ defeated death by His own death we can now see death as a gate which leads to eternal life.

2. When facing our own demise terrors of conscience may seize us. Only Christ can keep us faithful. “Be Thou faithful until death and I will give Thee the crown of life.” - Revelation 2:10
III. Behold Him who will keep us. May I e’er to Thee be turned, O my faithful Savior.

A. By our own reason or strength we can not come to Him.

1. We are blind, dead and enemies of God.

2. Our sin prevents us.

B. Thus He sends us His Holy Spirit who…

1. Calls us - by the Gospel

2. Gathers us – into His body the Church

3. Enlightens us – with His gifts

4. Sanctifies us – keeps us holy

5. Keeps us – in the one true faith

IV. Behold him who will receive us into His glory. Give me but what Thou has earned, More I do not pray for.

A. What has Christ earned?

1. We now have peace with God.

2. We are given access to the Father’s throne - room of grace.

3. We have received forgiveness from all sin.

4. We’ve been given the hope of heaven with mansions glorious.

B. With all these gifts what more do we need?

1. The Christian can now be content.

2. There is nothing lacking for Christ has the sufficiency to supply us with all that we may ever need.


I am content my Jesus liveth still
In whom my heart is pleased.
He hath fulfilled the Law of God for me,
God’s Wrath He hath appeased.
Since He in death could perish never
I also shall not die forever.
I am content! I am content!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

I Am Content from The Lutheran Hymnal Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO © 1940

Jesus I will Ponder Now
March 29, 2006
Mid-week #5
John 19:23-27

Introduction: Hanging on a cross suspended between earth and heaven Jesus bore our sins in His body. In the midst of His cruel agony He provided for His mother’s care. John records for us the Savior’s word of dying concern. “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,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on this disciple took her into his home.” How beautifully Bach relates these events.

I. The death of Jesus was complete. “He of everything took heed In His hour of dying.”

A. All sin was paid for by Jesus’ vicious death.

1. There is not one sin left unaccounted.

2. The payment is marked: “paid in full!”

B. The proclamation of the cross is what frees us.

1. It is good news.

2. It is the power of God.

II. On the cross Jesus singles Mary out for attention. “Caring for His mother’s needs on His friend relying.”

A. He calls her “woman”.

1. A desire to spare her the hurt of “mother.”

2. He imparts a proper perspective – Mary will have to be saved like anyone else. She receives no dispensation!

B. He turns her over to John.

1. From that time on he became her son.

2. He provides for her taking her into his own house.

a. By way of history John will be the only disciple not to be martyred.

b. He will be exiled to the island of Patmos. – Revelation 1:9

III. By this act of love Jesus demonstrates the proper regard for family. “O man, do all things aright love God and thy neighbor.”

A. Jesus summed up the life of the Christian when He taught us;

1. “Love the Lord Thy God with all your heart, soul and all your might This is the first and greatest commandment.” - Matthew 22:37

2. “And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:38-39 There is no commandment greater than these.

B. “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” - Mark 12:33

IV. Through Jesus’ example expressed to His mother He demonstrates a deep concern for others. Thus Bach concludes tonight’s hymn verse with these words; “Die then without pain and fright rest from care and labor.”

A. We can leave this world in death without pain or fright.

1. Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross so that we will not have to suffer the terrors of a guilty conscience.

2. We receive Christ’s peace as He has secured for us peace with God.

B. Thus we rest from care and labor.

1. Luther possibly put is best when, in the conclusion to his morning and evening prayers he wrote: “Into Thy hands I commend myself [placing] my body and soul and all thing [into Thy care]. May Your Holy Angel [Spirit] be with me that the wicked foe may have no power over me.”

2. This moved Luther to conclude in the morning the Christian should: “then go joyfully to your work” and in the evening we rest confidently: “then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.”

3. Here is evidence of a clear conscience; not based on what we do but rather on what Christ has finished. Our salvation is complete. We can rest in peace because our Father is at peace with Jesus’ work. At the cross and empty tomb Christ’s mission was accomplished!

Conclusion: Jesus showing compassion and care for His mother and His dear disciple has shown us how we too must act. Of the seven words Jesus spoke from the cross half of His last words are concerned with others. May His words and actions so move us to will and to do His good pleasure.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Jesus I will Ponder Now
April 5, 2006
Mid-week #6
John 19:37
They will look on the one they have pierced


When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died
My riches gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

The Passion of the Christ has been our focus through the sacred music of Johan Sebastian Bach these past three Wednesdays. We turn now to our final chorale – it is simply a prayer - that we may be one in Christ.

Help O Christ Thou God’s own Son
Through Thy bitter anguish
That our wills with Thee be one
Zeal for evil vanquish

I. We pray that our Will - may be one in the same as Christ’s. This we pray every time we pray the 3rd petition of the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy will be done” – Lord!

A. How is this done?

1. God’s good and gracious will is done among us by Himself – not us!

2. Specifically, when God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow God’s name nor let His Kingdom come.

3. Those forces we contend with are the will of the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh.

B. God’s Good and gracious will is...

1. To strengthen and preserve us steadfast.

2. Keeping us faithful to His Word and faith unto our end. “Fear not, little flock, for it is Your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” -Luke 12:32

Transition: We pray that the Father’s will might be done in us. Viewing Christ’s Passion we render Him our thanks and praise.

II. Our focus thus is on Christ and His Cross

On Thy death and its true cause
Contrite thoughts will render

A. When we consider all that Jesus endured - His suffering, agony and bloody sweet we cry out for the Father to have mercy upon us.

1. With the beggar we cry, “Jesus, Master have mercy on me!”-Mark 10:47

2. Or, as the Kyrie would remind us; “Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord, have mercy.”

3. And, in the words of the Agnus Dei; “O Christ Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world have mercy upon us and grant us Thy peace.”

B. And we thank Him!

And though weak and full of flaws
Thee our thanks will render

1. Thank You Jesus, that you have taken
away my guilt and my sin.

2. Thank you Jesus, that You prayed;
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34

3. Thank You Jesus, who gave Stephen the
strength to pray; “Lord do not hold this sin against them!” –Acts 7:60 For this is how we ought to pray.

Conclusion: As we have pondered Christ’s holy Passion during this Lenten journey may we be moved to pray;

Grant that I may willingly
Bear with Thee my crosses,
Learning humbleness of Thee,
Peace mid pain and losses.
May I give thee love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heaven above
Sing Thy praise forever.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

 When I survey the wondrous cross from The Lutheran Hymnal Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO © 1940

 Jesus I will Ponder Now from The Lutheran Hymnal Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO © 1940

M. Thursday
As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. –John 13:30

Introduction: In his St. John Passion J. S. Bach paints for us a picture of the arrest of Jesus which will trigger a series of events. These events will bring about the greatest travesty of justice – yet, at the same time will usher in the greatest demonstration of the Father’s love and faithfulness; faithfulness to His promise, faithfulness to His fallen children. For us; to receive the Father’s pardon, the Son of Man would have to be arrested, tried, crucified and killed.

Following the Passover celebration Jesus’ disciples sang a hymn. As they departed from the upper room - it was night. Christ the sinless Son of God is about to suffer for the crimes and sins of men.

I. “Christ through whom we now are blessed - knew no evil doing.”

A. In Christ we truly are blessed.
1. Blessed to know Him, blessed to be known by Him.

2. Blessed to have a relationship with Him.

3. Blessed to be brought into His family – the Church.

B. We are blessed because of Christ the sinless Son of God.
1. He knew no sin. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2. Yet He became sin for us. “At the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

3. He became a curse for us. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE "--

4. That we might become the righteousness of God through Him. “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord’.”

Transition: Christ the perfect holy Son of God blesses us. Our blessing came at the time of Jesus’ arrest when it was night.

II. “Him at night they did arrest - like a thief pursuing.”

A. His arrest happened at night. “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.”
1. His arrest happened at night when the crowds who had come for the Passover festival would not so easily witness His arrest.

2. They arrested Jesus at night so they could hold a quick and speedy trial.

B. Like a thief they pursued Him.
1. How ironic – He who had committed no treachery becomes a wanted man; a thief, a criminal, a villain, a man they must pursue.

2. The enemies of the Christ will stop at nothing at having Him eliminated. It was necessary for this to happen they would argue. It was necessary for one man to die for the nation. “Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. The leadership had had their fill – He must be eliminated.

Transition: Having made His arrest His trial is set.

III. “Led before the godless throng - falsely was convicted.”

A. Christ was convicted falsely.
1. Two witnesses came forward. “Many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.”

2. Finally, the High Priest came forward and charged Him.
“The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.”

B. These leaders stirred up the crowd for a conviction of convenience. It served their end.

1. “Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”

2. “So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” Pilate said “I find no fault in this man.”

3. But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

Transition: Having achieved their goal of a conviction the council will send Jesus to His death – But first He must be handed to the guard.

IV. “Laughed at, scoffed at, spat upon, - as the Word predicted.”

A. The guard will make sport of Him.
1. They want to publicly humiliate Him. “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.”

2. They want so show their utter contempt for Him. “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

B. This was all predicted for us in Sacred Scripture.
1. “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

2. “Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth…”

3. “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself”.

Conclusion: After the Last Supper, events in our Lord’s life moved rapidly-- His prayer in Gethsemane, betrayal by Judas, arrest, mock trial, painful beating, the trudge to Golgotha and execution. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” The events of Golgotha snuffed out the human life of Jesus, the Light of the World, as even creation was dark when He suffered.

Jesus, the innocent victim is sentenced to death – a death He did not deserve – yet a death He will bear for your salvation. In this most blessed Sacrament which He instituted before His arrest you receive the tokens of His sacrifice – His body, broken - His blood, shed - that you might receive absolution and clemency for your offenses. O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us and grant us Your peace.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

Good Friday
Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified – John 19:16

Introduction: Hanging on a cross - suspended between earth and heaven - the Son of man suffers – as no one has ever suffered – before or since. Stricken, smitten and afflicted see Him hanging on that tree – He hangs there - for you and for me.

We have come to the end of our series – Jesus I will ponder Now. Today we witness Jesus as He offers Himself as a sacrifice for the life of the world. The old song sings:

1. Make me see thy great distress,
Anguish and affliction,

A. The distress of Jesus is one no one has ever experienced. The physical torture was tremendous. But even greater was the spiritual torments He received. On that bloody and cruel cross Jesus was abandoned by God and by men.

B. Thus the Savior’s affliction and anguish was the highest cruelty. The wrath of an angry and offended God was poured out on the Son of man on a hill called Calvary. Heaped upon Him was a double load.

1. He suffered as no man should.

2. He suffered innocently the righteous for the

Transition: Jesus suffered great distress, anguish, and affliction. He suffered in time so we could be in bliss with God eternally.

2. Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And Thy crucifixion;

A. Mel Gibson’s movie the “Passion of the Christ” is a vivid portrayal of the Roman style of execution called crucifixion. It is a rendering of what took place in Jerusalem during those short three hours on Good Friday. This movie is an apt depiction of what crucifixion was really like. No wonder the world feared the Romans! No wonder some still today can not bear to see it. No wonder the Romans had a law which read: Roman citizens may not be crucified. The scourging, whippings and beatings Christ endured was pure violence.

B. And yet, Gibson’s film is not “gratuitous violence.” To the contrary - there is a higher good which comes from the sufferings and the passion of the Christ.

1. Your sins, oh man, are gone. Your sins are buried in the tomb of Christ never to be seen again.

2. He separates them as far as the east is from the west and He remembers your sin no more.

3. There is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ who was crucified. This is why we call this day Good Friday, for on a Friday - in time - the Son of God suffered to set you free.

Transition: Why mark these sacred hours when Jesus the Christ suffered? Why does every faithful Christian church station a cross prominently? What it the significance of the cross?

3. Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound Thee,

A. It was a human who transgressed God’s law. When the Father said, “Of all the trees you may eat. But of the tree in the midst of the garden you will not eat, lest you die.”

B. It was a human who believed the lie when the tempter said, “you will not die, for the Lord knows in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing the difference between good and evil.”

C. It was a human who disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit.

D. Therefore it had to be a human who would suffer in your stead. Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a human mother became the Father’s only attempt and the only hope for the human race to be free from sin. There is no other plan. There is no other way. There is no other hope except through Christ. This is what prompted St. Paul to write, “I determine to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Transition: What is the significance of the cross? The hymn writer sums it up in thirteen powerful words.

4. How for man Thou diedst O God,
Who with thorns had crowned Thee.

A. Sacred Scripture is quite clear. “There is salvation in no
one else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

B. Here we see that great exchange God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cross of His own Son! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

C. “No other child, no other Savior, Can ever help this sinful earth. Then take the Gift the Father sent us And spread the Story of His Birth.” That’s what our children said to us this past Christmas Eve. Good Friday assures us of a Merry Christmas! The birth of a baby means the death of a man – and that miserable death has saved us!

Conclusion: Come now, come weary sinner, come to the foot of the cross for all things are now ready!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

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