Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sermon March 25, 2016 Good Friday

Title: In Christ, it is finished!
Text: John19:17-30

29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things.

December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. Edison was 67. With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken?

The inventor's 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. "My heart ached for him," said Charles. "He was 67--no longer a young man--and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, 'Charles, where's your mother?' When I told him I didn't know, he said, 'Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.'" The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew." Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.

Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, Thomas Nelson, 1978, pp. 82-3, and Bits and Pieces, November, 1989, p. 12.

In Christ, it is finished and your redemption is secure!

17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on both side, and Jesus between them.

As our opening illustration pointed out … there can be great value in disaster. For the followers of Jesus this was to for a time, a disaster of great proportions.

The one in whom they had trusted and believed, who they had thought was the one, the Messiah, was now tried, crucified, and in a manner that would be in keeping with that of a common criminal.

“But how can it be?” they might think. “In Him we we’re sure that the Kingdom would be restored and the power of the Romans broken. Now, we see only the one in whom we placed our hope gone; killed by the raging of the Jewish leaders, the scourging of the Roman guards and the cross of humiliating crucifixion.”

Even Pilate got his digs in for he wrote:

… an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Those responsible for turning Jesus over to Pilate cried:

“Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” “But Pilate had written what he had written and in the languages of Aramaic, Latin, and Greek so there was no mistaking what was said of him.”

“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The dead King of the Jews may have been the response that they all felt.

The world that we live in today too mocks this Jesus.

There was a story of a Florida Atlantic University student who says he ended up suspended because he refused to stomp on a piece of paper bearing the word “JESUS”.

In Christ, it is finished and your redemption is secure!

With these words:

“We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused,”

“Florida Atlantic University apologized and said that they, “respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.”

The name of Jesus and the cross is an offense. Why? Well, what if it is true? What if this Jesus is God and we are sinners as the bible says and what if there is no hope apart from trust in him? What if there is really a place called Hell and when we reject Him and His love we receive the eternal separation and torment promised – and that we have chosen?

These and many other questions about Jesus and the cross cause the anger to boil over because it bring the sinners sins to light and the law, as the Confirmation class learns in class, shows us our sins.

Tell someone that the Moon is made of cheese and that Moon Men are coming to save us all and if you just believe, they will show themselves to you and have a place prepared for you on the Moon where you can live forever in peace. Say this and you’ll get laughed at, ignored, evaluated by a psychiatrist and in a short while forgot about.

But when Jesus says in John 14:6:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The reaction is one of anger as you are called unloving, intolerant, and bigoted and may be you just need to be a bit more progressive and get with the times … but you aren't ignored or forgot about. Why? What if what you believe is true?

In Christ, it is finished and your redemption is secure!

The Rev. Scott Murray who sends out devotions through the email each weekday wrote:

The One who need not have been bound by chains and cords was bound by men who sought His death. The One who was the power of God, refused to let that power bring Him rescue. The One who had no fear of death became subject to death. The One who had no vices wrapped Himself in ours that He might free us from them. The One who is the triumphant King suffered His own skin to be nailed upon the stake as the trophy of His triumph over death. The One who hunted down death, allowed Himself to be devoured by it. He was pierced through that we might be made whole. The wood upon which He was set adrift under the storming wrath of God He fashions into the ship of our salvation. It is our cross too, but not a cross of punishment for us. Rather, He makes it the cross of salvation.

The One who was bound by the nails is bound that He might bind us to Himself through faith in Him. We, who might be bound to Him by force, are bound rather by His love for us; and that binding is the more powerful because it is His. Bound to Him by His passionate and bloody embrace, we no longer fear the bonds of death in our own lives.

Punishment cannot hold us, for He long ago took our punishment. Suffering cannot overwhelm us, because He suffered for us on the tree. Fear cannot defeat us, for there is nothing to fear that can harm us. The cross is the instrument of His death, and the source of our life. Come, blessed cross!

In Christ, it is finished and your redemption is secure!

As we today remember the cross let us look to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2)

May the Love of God the blessings of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you now and forever.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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