Good Friday

Preached: April 22, 2011

Good Friday: The Seven Words
Jesus' Words from the Cross

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What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul!

A Call to Seek the Lord

Isaiah 55:6-11

Good Friday Prayer

The Lighting of the Candles

v. 1 Pastor

As the candles are lit the congregation sings:

2. Lamb of God, pure and holy,

Who on the cross did suffer,

Ever patient and lowly,

Yourself to scorned did offer.

All sins you carried for us,

Else had despair reigned o'er us:

Have mercy on us, O Jesus!

3. Lamb of God, pure and holy,

Who on the cross did suffer,

Ever patient and lowly,

Yourself to scorned did offer.

All sins you carried for us,

Else had despair reigned o'er us:

Your peace be with us, O Jesus!

The Crucifixion of our Lord: John 19:16-24

Hymn 119:1,2 “Where you There”

Where you there, when they crucified my Lord?

Where you there, when they crucified my Lord?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Where you there, when they crucified my Lord?

Where you there, when they nailed him to the tree?

Where you there, when they nailed him to the tree?

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Where you there, when they nailed him to the tree?

The First Words

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34 NIV)


Dear friends in Christ:

"I can't get it out. No matter how hard I scrub, I can't get it out. It's there. It won't go away. How stained my hands are!"

Guilt. Whether the king's blood staining Lady Macbeth's hands or a tell-tale heart beating under the floorboards of the narrator's conscience in Edgar Allan Poe's short story - guilt works its terror. How many sleepless nights, stressed lives, disturbed stomachs, ruined relationships, sicknesses of body or mind, and worse have been guilt's handiwork?

Soap and water won't wash guilt away. Just ask Pilate, who tried to wash his hands of Jesus' death. What else have people tried? A complete list is far too long, but consider these. Do any feel familiar? Convince yourself that what you're feeling guilty about isn't all that bad. Keep yourself so busy that you don't have time to hear your conscience accusing you. Drown out the guilt with a constant bombardment of entertainment, music, videos, friends, and so on. Numb the guilt with medication, alcohol, or drugs. Punish yourself; maybe if your body hurts enough, your guilt won't feel so bad. Do some good deed, give to charity or church trying to outweigh your guilt. Become more religious; maybe God will think your good enough. Deprive yourself; maybe God will feel sorry for you. Focus only on your good aspects; get rid of the negative thinking. Point out the failures in others; you might feel better in comparison. Since your going to feel guilty either way, you might as well jump all in and see how much you can sin. Lash out at others; if guilt makes you feel bad, they should feel bad too. Try to control everything and everyone around you; maybe eventually you can control the guilt. Or harden your conscience, becoming insensitive to right and wrong. Can you name other ways?

Some of these the world labels as harmful; others the world will even promote and use, calling them beneficial. But none of them truly deals with guilt. For whether a person acknowledges God or not, all feelings of guilt comes from the conscience holding each one of us accountable to the Almighty. All those remedies are like putting a Band-aid on a rattlesnake bite. Maybe it covers up the teeth marks, but guilt's poison will destroy you from the inside out. For in the end, whether you feel guilty or not, sin brings death, the endless torture of hell. None of the listed remedies cure.

There is only one way to truly deal with guilt -- only at the cross of Christ, only with the forgiveness his blood has purchased for you. For Jesus carried your burden, your guilt -- all of it -- to the cross. There he sacrificed himself to gain God's forgiveness for you. That's the forgiveness we truly need. He prays: "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34 NIV1984). He prays you. He prays for your forgiveness, the true, healing forgiveness that only his cross brings to you.

King David, who knew guilt, rejoices in the forgiveness his coming Savior would bring. He writes in Psalm 32:1-5

Reading: Psalm 32:1-5

Hymn 105:1, 4, 7 “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”

O sacred head, now wounded

With grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded,

With thorns your only crown,

O sacred head, no glory

Now from your face does shine;

Yet, though despised and gory,

I joy to call you mine.

My burden in your passion,

Lord, you have borne for me,

For it was my transgression,

My shame on Calvary.

I cast me down before you;

Wrath is my rightful lot.

Have mercy, I implore you;

Redeemer, spurn me not

Lord, be my consolation,

My shield when I must die;

Remind me of your passion

When my last hour draws nigh.

My eyes will then behold you,

Upon your cross will dwell;

My heart will then enfold you --

Who dies in faith dies well!

The Second Words

I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43 NIV)

Choir: “Jesus Remember Me”

Reading: Luke 23:34b-43

The Third Words

Dear woman, here is your son . . . Here is your mother” (John 19: 26, 27 NIV)


As we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, standing there at the cross, how much fills our hearts! She once held him in her arms and laid him a manger. At the temple Simeon had prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. How much did she understand and believe? How much confusion, fear, and despair filled her?

But one more truth we're reminded of as we see Mary standing there. Jesus was indeed born of a woman, just as foretold long ago in the first promise of the Savior made in the Garden of Eden. He is that Offspring of the woman, born of the virgin Mary, to crush the serpent's head, destroying the devil's power.

Jesus is the second Adam. What we lost in Eden through the first Adam, Jesus regained for us. He regained for us that perfect, guiltless righteousness that stands before God pure and holy. For he freely credits you with his righteousness.

We see him fulfilling all righteousness as he takes care of his mother even in his most dire hour. He entrusts her care to his disciple, John. He fulfills the Fourth Commandment, as he has fulfilled all the commandments. He lives that perfect life of love, loving God above all and loving his neighbor as himself.

And dear friends, he freely credits you with his righteousness, his righteousness that has his record of perfect love. For as the Offspring of the woman he came to take our place for all those born of woman. He, God the Son, came as the Second Adam to be your Substitute. That's why his righteousness counts for you, for like you he is a true human being born of the virgin Mary. But unlike us his righteousness stands up perfectly in God's courtroom for all sinners, for he is true God, eternal begotten of the Father. He is the Lamb of God pure and holy. Only his perfect righteousness truly quiets your guilty conscience. Believe that his righteousness counts as yours. For that is what God declares through the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:15-21.

Reading: Romans 5:12-21

Hymn 138:1, 5, 6 “Oh, Perfect Life of Love”

Oh, perfect life of love

All, all is finished now,

All that he left his throne above

To do for us below.

In perfect love he dies;

For me he dies, for me!

O all-atoning Sacrifice,

You died to make me free!

In ev'ry time of need,

Before the judgment throne,

Your works, O Lamb of God, I'll plead,

Your merits, not my own.

The Fourth Words

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
(Matthew 27:46 NIV)


How heavy the burden of guilt! We cannot even bear our own guilt. But Jesus carried all the guilt of all the sinners of all times and of all places. For he is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the whole world.

As he cries out from the cross, he's suffering the depths of hell. That's the punishment your guilt and mine has earned. But Jesus suffered it all in your place, for your guilt was counted against him. He willingly suffered it without complaint; he suffered to save you. Yes, your salvation is in his cry. He was forsaken so that you may be saved. That's what Isaiah foretold as he points us to our suffering Savior who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Hymn 100:1-3 “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth”

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,

Our guilt and evil bearing

And, laden with the sins of earth,

None else the burden sharing.

Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,

To slaughter led without complaint,

That spotless life to offer,

Bears shame and stripes and wounds and death,

Anguish and mockery and says,

“Willing all this I suffer.”

This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great friend,

The Lamb of God our Savior;

Him God the Father chose to send

To gain for us his favor.

“Go forth, my Son,” the Father said,

“And free my children from the dread

Of guilt and condemnation.

The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,

But by your passion they will share

The fruit of your salvation.”

“Yes, Father, yes, most willingly

I'll bear what you, command me.

My will conforms to your decree;

I'll do what you have asked me.”

O wondrous Love, what have you done!

The Father offers up his Son,

Desiring our salvation,

O Love, how strong you are to save!

You make his bed within the grave

Who built the earth's foundation.

The Fifth & Sixth Words

I am thirsty. (John 19:28 NIV)
It is finished. (John 19:30 NIV)

How deeply he suffered to remove our guilt. Psalm 22 foretells his agony. Psalm 22:1-8, 14-21.

Reading Psalm 22:1-8, 14-21


But now his work is coming to completion. Has he accomplish his mission? Does his cross truly wash away our guilt? Here at the cross we have seen the perfect righteousness Jesus freely credits to you. Here at the cross we have seen Jesus carry the burden of the guilt of all the sins of all the world, including all of yours, as he was forsaken.

And now to remove any doubt as to whether or not he has completed his mission, Jesus calls for a drink, "I am thirsty." And with his voice renewed, he proclaims in a loud voice for all to here: "It is finished." "My mission is accomplished. I have secured forgiveness for guilty sinners. Be at peace, for my righteousness counts for you. Be at peace for I have suffered the full burden of your guilt. Be at peace, for you are forgiven. Yes, God himself forgives you. All your guilty stains are washed away."

He is our King of peace, no matter how the world may rage and try to smear us with guilt. He is our King as Psalm 2:1-12 proclaims

Reading Psalm 2:1-12

Hymn 122: 4 “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”

Faithful cross, true sing of triumph

Be for all the noblest tree;

None in foliage, none in blossom,

None in fruit your equal be,

Symbol of the world's redemption,

For your burden makes us free.

The Seventh Words

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46 NIV)

Reading: Luke 23:46; Matthew 27:51-56; John 19:31-40

The last candle is removed symbolizing the burial of our Lord
who is our Light and our Salvation.

Lord's Prayer (all in unison)

The tomb rends with a loud sound; the Light returns, for our Lord rises.

Solo: “The Old Rugged Cross”

Please leave in silence,
reflecting on what your Savior suffered
to rescue you from sin and death.

There is no blessing spoken tonight, for our worship has not ended. We eagerly await to gather on Easter Sunday for the final portion of our three-day observance.

Come on Easter rejoicing that he lives,
and you, with all his believers, will live with him forever.

Easter Breakfast 7:30am
Easter Worship 9:00am

Pastor Gregg Bitter

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