Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

 G. Friday
18 April 2014
John 19:30

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

O God, creator of heaven and earth, grant that as the crucified body of Your dear Son, was laid in the tomb and rested on the Sabbath, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life. – Collect for Holy Saturday, Lutheran Service Book © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

We are Easter people! Even on a night as this! You can be confident in this – In the midst of death, you possess life. Death is not a topic most try to avoid. Many are fearful as they think about the death of other as well as their own death. But tonight death cannot be avoided. Tonight we are brought face to face with an awesome fact – Jesus died! What happened on the first Good Friday is incredible.

The incredible death of Jesus Christ

1. His death was real.

        A. We cannot fathom how the God-man, Jesu Christ could die. Yet His spirit left His body.
    B. His body hung lifeless. His lips no longer spoke. His eyes no longer saw. His ears no longer heard.

2.  His death was voluntary.
A. Death comes to us become of something – illness, accident, bodily deterioration.
B. But Jesus came to death, giving up His spirit when He was ready to. With full possession of His                   faculties. In full control. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch                  them out of my hand.” (John 10:18) He died only when He had accomplished all things. Jesus prayed            in His High Priestly prayer, “(Father,) I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You          gave Me to do.” (John 17:4)  He died only when He had finished the atonement.

3. His death was the death of death itself.
A. He took on Himself the penalty for your sin. This is what caused His death. “For God has done                    what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful               flesh and for sin, [a] He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3)
B. Death could not hold Him. He was sinless. He has made perfect atonement for sin. “We were buried             therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the           glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”  (Romans 6:4) “We know that Christ, being           raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him.” (Romans 6:9)

4. His death means life.
A. Death is now but a “shadow.” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will                fear no evil, (Psalm 23:4)
1. It’s a former menacing power.
2. It is not a step into the unknown.
     a. “I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17)
     b. “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with                        the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)
B. Death is now the avenue to God’s presence. It is eternal bliss.  “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54c, 57)

What an incredible death! Because Jesus died, “It is not death to die.” The sting of death has been removed. We can live well – and died well.

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