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He Saves You!

March 24, 2013

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Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion                                        Trinity Lutheran Church

24 March 2013                                                                                                Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Luke 23:35-39

Confirmation of Andrew Nelson, Ross Holsten, Elyse Drake, Tyler Douglas, Nolan Langfeldt, Nick Langfeldt, Pam Bailey and Sam Burtch

Look carefully.  Do you see Him?  There He hangs.  Yes, the Preacher from Nazareth!  Jesus.  His suffering is immense.  Crucifixion is a brutal business.  Cruel.  Vicious.   Excruciating.  The Romans were masters of meting out nastiness.  Chunks of the Preacher’s flesh are missing due to the ferocious flogging.  The sadistic beatings have taken their toll.  No doubt His eyes are swollen shut, skull fractured, ribs shattered, lips split wide open, teeth knocked out and who knows what indescribable else!  As He dangles from the cross His Blood seeps and trickles out of His wounds, stains the wood and puddles into a dark red paste on the dusty ground.

His tormentors add insult to injury!  They just heap it on!  Listen.  The rulers sneer:  “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”  The soldiers join in with their taunts:  “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  One of the nasty pieces of work hanging next to the Preacher chimes in too:  “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  

Did you catch all that?  Three times the Preacher’s vocation and His person are make fun of.  Scorned.  Scoffed at.  “The Christ?  Really?  You sure don’t look like it!  You sure don’t act like it!  If you are truly the Christ, the Messiah, God’s Chosen One, then this shouldn’t be happening to you!  Messiahs are supposed to be all-powerful!  Almighty like!  Messiahs don’t get betrayed and denied!  They don’t suffer and they certainly don’t get crucified – hung out to die!  So get off that cross Jesus!  Hop down!  Save yourself like you saved others – if you’re truly who you claim to be!”

Hidden in the mockery is huge temptation!  An enticing proposition!  A religious tone.  A spiritual grain of truth.  Maybe the mockers are right. He is the Christ.  No doubt about that.  Perhaps He should pull off another one of His Messiah miracles.  A real messianic zinger and save Himself from this horrendous suffering and abominable death by crucifixion.

What will the Preacher do?  Will He stay put?  Or will He climb down and avoid dying?

Does it even matter?  Well … does it Andrew, Ross, Elyse, Tyler, Nolan, Nick, Pam, Sam and members of Trinity?

It does.  The “save yourself” temptation is the salvation cliff crisis.  Your salvation is at stake in what the Preacher does or doesn’t do.

If Jesus hops off the cross and runs away from death by crucifixion in order to “save himself,” you don’t have a Savior.  If Jesus “saves Himself,” you are not saved!  You fall off the salvation cliff!  You are still in your sin.  Your sin remains on you and you will be damned with it.

But that’s not what Preacher Jesus does!  He refuses to “save himself.”  He’s bullish on staying put – right to the bitter end.

Why?  Because this is what God does.  And He’s God in the flesh.  He came “not to be served [or to serve Himself] BUT TO SERVE AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY,” (Mt 20:28).  Jesus is God – for you.  He doesn’t exist for Himself.  He lives for you!  He gives His divine heart to you.  He gives His divine life to you – into death – the death of the cross.

Thousands of men were put to death this way in the ancient world!  But Jesus is not only a man.  He is at the same time the one true God!  He is the Word made flesh!  Here is the shedding of divine blood.  Here is the sacrifice of God Himself for the ungodly.  The only sacrifice that atones for sin!  So He takes all your sin in His Body.

Sin is our problem.  Sin is what is wrong with us.  And sin’s paycheck is death – eternal death.  In the suffering and death of God Jesus your sin is answered for.  Forgiven.    And death is put to death.  Death no longer stings.  It’s defanged.  Defeated.

I must say it again.  It is the good news!  The Gospel!  In the Body of the Crucified God takes your sin on Himself.  All of it.  Yes, that’s right, all your sin.  No matter how big or bad.  It all belongs to Jesus, not you!

And so does your sin’s punishment!  Guilty with all your sin Jesus is hurled into that separation from God that is sin’s consequence and curse.  Jesus is forsaken of God!  He bears your hell – and He does it FOR YOU!  That’s why He cries in utter dereliction:  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”  To the absolute utter depth Jesus endures sin’s separation from God.

Jesus does the entire salvation job!  Bears all sin.  Endures all its divine punishment.  Sheds His divine Blood for every sinner’s cleansing.  And so He shouts with a loud voice:  “It is finished!”

He will not save Himself.  He came to save you!  So He stays put on the cross.  For you and for your salvation!  There is no other God than this Man Jesus!  There is no other Savior than Jesus!  What a Savior!  Savior for you Andrew, Ross, Elyse, Tyler, Nolan, Nick, Pam, Sam.  He promises!  His promise is given in the Sacrament.  Listen:  “Take and eat.  Take and drink.  My Body given FOR YOU.  My Blood shed FOR YOU FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS.”  He doesn’t lie!  He gives what He says.  He says what He does.

Happy Confirmation Day!

In the Name of Jesus.

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