Good Friday Sermon

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

We preach Christ crucified.  This is the Church’s sermon.  Her only sermon.  Like the Lord’s Prayer is the chief prayer from which all others flow, so this sermon – Christ crucified – is the chief sermon from which all others flow.  Far be it from us to boast except in the cross of Christ.

He is risen. He lives.  But we preach Christ crucified.  Not in opposition to the resurrection, not in denial of the resurrection as you’ll hear tomorrow at the vigil and on the glorious Easter morning.  But we preach Christ crucified because by His death we die to sin. By His stripes we are healed of disease. His wounds were meant for us.  But He bore the load.  He paid the price.  He bought you back from sin and death by pouring out His blood and suffering death on the cross.

We preach Christ crucified because this is how you, O man, are reconciled to God.  There is no other way.  There is no other name by which you are saved, redeemed, rescued, and snatched out of the jaws of death and hell.

We were on a death march, headed for Hades.  Eternal death.  We were headed for annihilation, for utter destruction; the wages of our sin.  But we were saved.  Rescued.  We were purchased.  Our wage paid.  Jesus paid it with His precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.  We are His because He bought us.  We preach Christ crucified.

The crucifix worn around the necks of saints and that adorns the sacred, hallowed walls and altars of the churches of God is a beautiful thing; a glorious thing.  It is a picture of your Master’s greatest gift to you: His life.  It is the symbol of your redemption, O sinner.  The crucifix preaches Christ crucified, the greatest sermon ever preached.  He was crushed for our iniquity, we are raised up by His innocence.

It is good to contemplate the death of Jesus, the death of God’s own Son.  It is good to consider the nails and spear that pierced Him through, the cross He bore for me for you, this Man, this Son of Mary.  Befitting the kingdom of heaven that always turns everything upside down and calls things that are not as though they were, that forgives sins and proclaims life in the midst of death, befitting the kingdom is that here on this darkest of nights in all time and space when the world would think we Christians are most to be pitied, for our God died, the refrain that sings the loudest is the refrain sung by heralding angels in the skies of Bethlehem: “Hail, the heaven born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”  Behold, O man, your King!

We preach Christ crucified.  On the cross He bore upon His frame the weight of all sin and shame.  You and I are free from shame, free from guilt, free from death because this one Man, God’s own Son, died.  Died to sin once for all.  And as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. You have been buried with Him into death, the death to sin.  The life you live you live in Christ crucified.  The blood poured out for you, for me, was poured into the font where water mixed with Word brings the power of the blood of God, washing you clean from crimson sin.  Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of Christ.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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