Sermon for Good Friday Tre Ore 1

Sermon for Good Friday Tre Ore 1

(Transcribed by machine 04/07/2024)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
Jesus’ first words from the cross are an inaccessory prayer given up to his Father, but who were
these words meant for?
Was Jesus crying out on behalf of the Roman soldiers, the ones who flogged him mercilessly,
who mocked and ridiculed him and then drove the nails into his flesh?
Was he pleading for Pilate?
the one who had the authority to find him innocent, to set him free, and yet he
cowardly washed his hands of the entire matter. Was he appealing for Caiaphas or
for the other members of the Sanhedrin who had judged him falsely in violation
of their own rules and their own procedures? Or maybe it was for the
disciples, for the one who betrayed him, for the one who denied him, or simply for
the others who turned their back on him and ran and scattered in fear when he
was arrested.” And why does Jesus say about these that have crucified him that they
know not what they do? For surely the soldiers and Pilate and Caiaphas, the
Sanhedrin, they would all say, we know exactly what we’re doing, we’re ridding
the world of a troublemaker. And after this they would just go back to their
normal lives, as if nothing happened, and not even having a second thought about
the events of that day. And they didn’t know what they were doing, not really,
for they were spiritually blind. They were not crucifying merely some man who
claimed to be a prophet, who claimed to be a king. They were killing the Lord of
life. Jesus, God the Son, not once raised his voice in anger or spoke words of
retribution. He didn’t return the slander and insults with aspersions of
his own. He only spoke words that testified to the glory of the Father,
words spoken for the soldiers, for Pilate, for Caiaphas, for the Sanhedrin, words
spoken for the one who did betray him, for the one who did deny him, and for all
those who ran, and even they, though being his closest friends and his disciples,
they really didn’t know who he was. But the first words of Christ from the
cross were also on our behalf. They are words spoken for me, and they are words
spoken for you, for we too killed Christ. We also are responsible for his death,
it was, after all, the sin of the world for which he died.” And while no doubt there
are many we can point the finger at and say, it was you. You’re to blame. We can
blame the soldiers, we can blame Pilate, we can blame Caiaphas, we can blame the
Jews, but we also must point our finger at the man in the mirror and say, and it
was you also. And so Christ was praying to the Father that you too will be
forgiven. And notice Jesus doesn’t say, Father, if it be your will, forgive them.
He knew the Father would because it was the Father who gave the Son to the
world as the atonement for sin. Christ was God incarnate, the earthly
manifestation of the love, mercy, and compassion of the Father. And in his cry
to the Father, Jesus testifies about this relationship of God for those
transgressions that came against Jesus the Son were transgressions against
the Father, the one who sent him. So Jesus’ words should be words of comfort for
sinners because his prayer was for sinners, and in these words we find an
example for us to follow. What do we do and say when we are wronged? What do we
do when someone transgresses us, when we are sinned against? Is it our initial
response to be one of anger or to desire some type of getting even? Christ’s first
words, His prayer, it’s a prayer for us to take as our own. We pray not for
whatever our perception of justice or punishment is for those who’ve wronged
for those who’s trespassed against us. We pray this prayer that Jesus gives us
from the cross. We pray the prayer that the Lord gave to his disciples. We pray
the prayer that Stephen prayed that even as the stones were being hurled against
him, that he prayed that God would not remember the sins of those who
persecuted him, yes, killed him. We learn to earnestly pray to God that he
forgive us those that hate us, that in their grace, that through repentance they
might too be forgiven. And we also have this example of Christ’s suffering to
follow, that we learned to imitate Christ’s humility, knowing that in his
suffering he endured pain and shame of the cross so that we may live. Now, Jesus’
prayer of forgiveness wasn’t in vain, and the answer to the prayer was never in
question. The Father answered Jesus’ prayer because he found Christ’s death
satisfactory as the payment for the sin of the world, and he continues to answer
this prayer today, for it is our prayer that God would forgive us for the sake
of Christ even when we don’t know what we do. And where do we find this
forgiveness? We find it wherever the gospel is rightly taught and wherever
the sacraments are rightly administered. We find it, we find forgiveness in
baptism where we are given new life of water and of the Spirit. We find
forgiveness in the sweet words of the absolution where we hear that God has
had mercy on us. We find forgiveness in Christ’s body and blood which he has
given us to eat and drink. And so it is our obligation as Christians to trust
in these means of grace and to receive the forgiveness therein. For it is faith
itself that is the belief in the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus’ first words
from the cross are a prayer of forgiveness because it is for this
purpose that he is on the cross at all. The work of God on the cross, his love on
and from the cross, is the one and only way that the sin of the world could be
put away. It could be done away with forever. So in praying, Father, forgive
them. Jesus’ words are not just words for those who persecuted him and who saw to
it that his death was carried out. They’re words for sinners. They’re words for you,
and they’re words for me. And they are the words of the assurance of forgiveness.
For where there is forgiveness of sins, there’s also life and salvation. Amen.