Good Friday

Preached: March 21, 2008

Good Friday
Good Friday Texts

The First Words

Dear friends in Christ,

The cross calls on us to mourn -- not mourn like at a funeral, not to mourn as we do when we lose a loved one, but rather to mourn over our sins. Only when we see our own guilt driving those nails into Jesus' hands, only then do we begin to understand what is happening. We cry out, “Ah, I also and my sin wrought your deep affliction” (Christian Worship, “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now,” 98:3).

What comfort! What Good News as you hear Jesus speak these first words. He prays for your forgiveness.

Read Luke 23:32-34

Yes, he prays for your forgiveness. For you see, he sacrificed himself for your sins. His blood covers your guilt. Instead of counting your sins against you, God counted them all against Jesus. He died your death to bring you forgiveness. What blessed news, just as Psalm 32 teaches us.

Read Psalm 32:1-7

The Second Words

Dear friends in Christ,

Where there is forgiveness, there is also life and salvation. Even in the midst of death, Jesus brings life. He replaces torture with Paradise, just as he promised the repentant thief.

Read Luke 23:39-43

So also for you, who trust that Jesus is your King. He has ransomed you to be his very own citizens, his blood-bought people. Humbly come before you King, confessing your guilt and helplessness. For he is merciful. Hear his word of promise with believing hearts: “You will be with me in Paradise, for I washed your sin-stained robes in my blood and made them white.” He remembers you and gives you this picture of Paradise recorded in Revelation 7

Read Revelation 7:9, 10, 13-17

The Third Words

Dear friends in Christ,

What perfect love! For you see, Jesus not only suffered for our sins, he did everything right for us, so that his righteousness counts for you. We see him perfectly obeying God's commandment. In an act of love and honor toward his mother, he ensures that she will be taken care of by disciple John.

Read John 19:25-27

But as you well know, his love goes far beyond his mother. He loves you and gave himself up for you. What perfect love! His love for us energizes us to live for him and to serve one another in love. And what greater love can you show, than to let others know that Jesus has reconciled us to God. Only in Jesus do we know God's love, peace, and reconciliation. For Jesus became our sin to give us his righteousness, to credit us with his perfectly right record.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

The Fourth Word

Dear friends in Christ

Here is what hell is all about. Here are the wages that sin earns. Here is what death without Jesus really is. Forsaken by God. Cut off from his goodness and mercy. No joy. No peace. No hope.

See him suffer your hell on that cross. For your sin, your guilt, your trespasses, your transgressions, your iniquities, all the good we failed to do, all the evil we did instead, all the corruption we inherited and were born with -- he carried it all for you. He suffered the punishment for it all in your place. He cried out these words, so that you who trust in him will never have to cry them out in hell.

Read Matthew 27:45, 46

As the Lamb of God, he innocently, willingly, patiently, without complaint, carried our guilt through hell itself on that cross. That's what Isaiah foretold as he describes the suffering Servant who carried our guilt for us. As you listen to Isaiah, see the cross and your sins nailed there.

Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The Fifth Word

Dear friends in Christ,

He has fulfilled the promises of old. He has crushed the devil's head, that ancient Serpent. He has sacrificed himself as the Passover Lamb, who frees us from slavery to sin, so that the angel of death passes over. He is the Messiah, the Lord's Anointed. He is ready to proclaim that the work the Father anointed him to do was now complete. So he calls for a little moisture, a little drink to wet his throat so that he can announce his message.

Read John 19:28, 29

But before we hear that message, reflect once more on all the promises and prophecies Jesus has fulfilled by going to the cross for us. Think of that as you listen to Psalm 22

Read Psalm 22:1-8; 14-21

The Sixth Word

Dear friends in Christ,

Now he shouts out the Good News: “It is finished!” His mission is accomplished. His work is completed. He has paid the debt for the sins of the entire world. He has paid it up in full. What comfort and peace for you and me! Why doubt or worry for Jesus has worked out your salvation from beginning to end. He has finished the job. That what he wants you to know and believe.

Read John 19:30a

So keep these words in your heart and mind. Even though the world scoffs and thinks our Savior is still died, he has finished the work the Father anointed him to do. Easter will proclaim that the Father has accepted all that Jesus has done. Easter is the exclamation point behind these words. Psalm 2 points us to our victorious King who finished his work, despite the ragings of the nations against him.

Read Psalm 2

The Seventh Word

Dear friends in Christ,

Through faith in Jesus, you can call on God as your Father. Trusting in Jesus, you can face death, just like Jesus entrusting your soul into your heavenly Father's hands. For he has taken away your sins and opened the gates of paradise for you. Listen now to Jesus' final words on the cross from Luke 23 and then witness the events following his death as recorded in Matthew 27 and John 19.

Read Luke 23:46; Matthew 27:51-56; John 19:31-42

Pastor Gregg Bitter

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
859 5th Street
Hancock, MN 56244
(320) 392-5313

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