The Rev. Paul J Cain
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
The Last Word
Good Friday, 10 April 2009
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming
In the Name of Jesus. Amen
This evening, you have heard the Seven Last Words of Christ. Now we ponder the Last Word: Jesus is your salvation.
14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. . . .5:7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
The writer to the Hebrews says this: Jesus was tempted as we are with loud cries and tears. This is a hopeful word. He knows what it means to suffer and has compassion on us. Through our suffering, we can better identify with His suffering and death for us. Our own sufferings earn us nothing. His sufferings earn us everything.
Upon the cross, Jesus gave witness to the truth. He fulfilled ancient prophecies. He provided for his own mother. He promises salvation for those who trust in Him. And He forgave the very people who put Him on the cross. Are you a sinner? Then you have sinned. Your sins and my sins and the sins of the whole world put Jesus on the cross, not merely the Jewish leaders or the Roman government. Together we bear the blame. And together we are offered the gift of salvation: It is finished.
Without the Resurrection of Easter, Good Friday is not good. Jesus’ death is pointless, barbaric, and unjust. There is more to come. Every Good Friday is good because of Easter Sunday’s empty tomb and Resurrected Christ. Good Friday is the offering of the Lamb of God to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus is the ultimate Passover Lamb, an unblemished male in His prime of life.
Jesus Christ is your prophet, priest, and king. He is your prophet through His preaching and teaching. He is the king sought after by the Wise Men and proclaimed as such by Pontius Pilate. INRI on a cross is the Latin abbreviation for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Jesus reigns from the cross, His throne. And as priest He sacrifices the Lamb, Himself, for the sins of the people once and for all. Now, Jesus, your Great High Priest intercedes for you before the Father.
That leads us back to the Last Word: Jesus is your salvation. That is the whole point of listening to His Seven Last Words from the Cross. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen