Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Christ, Our Passover Lamb - Good Friday - April 18, 2014 - Text: 1 Corinthians 5:7
Our text is 1 Corinthians 5:7: Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. This is our text.
Our theme for this year focuses our attention on the main character of the Passion, even the main character throughout the history of Israel and the Christian Church, the Lamb. We began with the promise of a Savior and the first sacrifice made to clothe Adam and Eve. We continued with God’s giving of the sacrificial system as a way of reminding people that the price for sin is death, that blood had to be shed. We saw the lamb as the main character pointing us toward the One Lamb of God and His once and for all sacrifice on the cross. Last night we witnessed Jesus giving us His Holy Supper wherein He gives us His body and blood to eat and drink, thus participating in His life and His death. This evening we will witness our Passover Lamb being sacrificed for us. And finally in three days we will witness and participate in His resurrection foreshadowing our own resurrection to eternal life where He will welcome us into His heavenly home and robe us with His robes of righteousness.
We see how great God’s love for us is in that God does not live in time as you and I live in time. God lives in the eternal present, which means that for God time is always now, thus God does not have a past nor a future only the present so for God everything that happens to us is happening in His eternal present. How we see God’s great love in this fact is that God created all things and us included in order to love us, knowing that we would mess up what He perfectly created. In the beginning God created all things out of nothing, in six days He created all things perfect and holy.
God created a perfect man and a perfect woman and placed them into a perfect Garden which He created especially for them. They were placed in the perfect Garden and were to work at taking care of the Garden. The only stipulation God gave in the beginning was that they were not to eat from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God’s threat was in the day they would eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden they would die, die a spiritual death and began dying a physical death. They could however eat of all the other trees in the garden.
While God was running the show everything was perfect. Once man began running the show in chapter three, then we have the entry of Satan and temptation. We have Eve and Adam disobeying God, sinning and bringing a curse to the world which meant destruction of all things perfect.
However, and remember God lives in the eternal present so He knew this would happen, so He immediately stepped in and made a promise, a promise to take care of the sin of Adam and Eve, the sin which now infected the DNA, the genes of every living creature. God promised to send someone to take care of the sin of Adam and Eve and all people.
The one to take care of the sin of all people would be a Savior, a Redeemer, a Messiah, a Christ, One who would redeem, trade His perfection for the world’s imperfection. Thus, the Savior would have to be truly human in order to be a substitute, trading a like life for a like life. And the Savior would have to be truly Divine in order to be perfect which would fulfill God’s first demand.
Furthermore, God narrowed the line of the fulfillment of the Savior that is that the Savior would be born from the line of David, King David of Israel. The odds of one man fulfilling all the stipulations of God’s promised Savior were truly great and yet Jesus fulfilled all God’s stipulations so that we might know for certain that He is the Savior.
God set up the sacrificial system of the Old Testament in order to remind the people that the price for sin is death, that blood had to be shed and to point to the one ultimate once and for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
According to the sacrificial system the lamb to be sacrificed must be an unblemished lamb, one as close to perfection as possible. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born in perfection, thus fulfilling this requirement of God.
Not only was Jesus conceived and born perfect and holy, He also lived perfectly obeying all God’s laws and fulling all of God’s prophecies concerning the promised Messiah, perfectly. He perfectly obeyed the Ten Commandments, perfectly fulfilled the Ceremonial Laws, and perfectly obeyed the Civil laws. He did what all of Israel, nor all of us could do.
After fulfilling all the law and the prophets perfectly, He freely took all sin on Himself, all our sins of thought, word and deed, all our sins of omission and commission. All our sins and the sins of all people, of all places, of all times He took upon Himself, freely because of His great love for us.
And then He paid the price for all sin, He suffered and died on the cross as the Lamb of God, sacrificed for the sins of the world. All the sins ever committed up until the time the He paid for them and all the sins that will ever be committed, He paid the price completely so that no other payment ever will need to be paid.
What Jesus did we call reconciliation and is truly like the what happens in accounting, when we reconcile our bank account. Our account with God is that we owe. We owe our very lives. We owe the price for sin which is death, blood must be shed. However, we cannot pay our debt.
Jesus owes nothing because He is perfect and holy. And yet, He gave His life for ours. He paid the debt of our account by giving His life, by shedding His blood for us.
Now, when we look at Jesus we see His perfection, we see that He has paid for our sins and we rejoice and we are satisfied. When God looks at us, He sees Jesus. He sees Jesus’ perfect life as our perfect life. He sees Jesus’ perfect sacrifice as our death and He is satisfied.
Today is Good Friday. It is good, for us, because the price for our sins has been paid. It is good for us because we can once again see what great love our God has for us. As we walk to Calvary and see our Lord, our Savior, our God crucified and die on the cross, what we are witnessing is Jesus earning and paying the price for our sins. And yet, we know that it is not here on Calvary that the forgiveness He won is distributed. No, His gifts, His forgiveness, His faith and life are distributed each and every Sunday, yes, even each and every day through the very means He has given to distribute His gifts, His means of grace.
As we are reminded of and as we remember our baptism we are given forgiveness and strengthened in our faith. As we confess our sins and hear our Lord’s words of forgiveness, “your sins are forgiven,” we know we have forgiveness of sins and with forgiveness, life and salvation. As we hear God’s Word, faith comes by hearing, we are given faith, forgiveness and life, as God’s Word indeed is efficacious and does what it says. And as we come to the Lord’s Holy Table, as we eat His body and drink His blood, we participate in His life, death and resurrection.
This evening we do not necessarily celebrate, who celebrates death after all, but we do give thanks because our Lord has given His all for us. In three days we will return and we will then indeed celebrate. We will celebrate that death and the grave had no power over our Lord because He is God indeed and we will celebrate, once again, His rising from the dead. To Him be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.