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GOD-man Jesus On The Cross FOR YOU

November 22, 2013

Last Sunday in the Church Year                                     Trinity Lutheran Church

24 November 2013                                                              Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

Luke 23:27-43

 

Well, there He is!  Look at Him!  Do you see Him?  You wouldn’t know it by just looking at Him.  But St. Paul tells you that this man Jesus “is the image of the invisible God.”  Through this man Jesus “all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” including all the angels described as “thrones or powers or rulers or authorities.”  In this man Jesus, “all the fullness of God dwells in bodily form,” (Colossians 1:15-19).  All of God – the whole enchilada of God – is contained in that man Jesus.  Look at that man Jesus and you see God!  He is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His [God’s] being,” (Hebrews 1:3).

 

The Most High God on the earth in this man!  No other God than this man Jesus.  He even preached it Himself:  “Before Abraham was born, I AM!” (John 8:58).

 

But now take another look.  Is this how image-of-the-invisible-God Jesus should act?  Is this how all-the-fullness-God-dwelling-bodily in Jesus should be treated?  It’s shocking.  It’s really quite scandalous.  Look at where He is!  He’s been romanly escorted to the place called “the Skull.”

 

When you hear “Skull” what comes to mind?  Yes, that’s right:  SKULL = DEATH.  You can smell it.  The place called “the Skull” reeks of death’s icy stench.  Before-Abraham-Was-Born-I-AM-Jesus gets capitally punished.  Do you hear the hammer blows?  The stakes are pounded through His limbs – pinning and hanging Him to the timber.  It’s absolutely, agonizingly excruciating!  But Luke puts it so matter of factly.  Leaves out the gory and brutal details.  “There they crucified him along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.”

 

What?  GOD-Jesus crucified?  Really?  GOD-Jesus suffering, hanging and dying?  Perhaps you’d rather just say Man-Jesus suffers.  Man-Jesus hangs there.  “Yes, that’s right Reverend!  I can live with that!  Man-Jesus is on the cross!  Only the man-Jesus dies!”  I hear ya.  And I’m very sympathetic.  We’re afraid of saying that God suffers, bleeds, hurts and dies.  After all, God cannot suffer, bleed, feel pain, let alone die, right?  So, when we look at what’s happening on the cross, it’s only happening with the man-Jesus, right?

 

He is a man.  That’s absolutely true.  However, He’s also God.  The God-man in one person!  Remember the truth revealed from Paul’s letter to the Colossians?  Jesus is God in the flesh!  So, the one who suffers, bleeds, and experiences the excruciating pain of the crucifixion and sting of death is not just a man but God Himself in the body or person of Jesus.

 

If Jesus suffers, bleeds, and dies only as a man, then you are still in your sins and you will be damned in them.  After all, no man can deliver sinners from the hellish paycheck their sins have earned.  No man can answer for sin.  No man can reconcile sinners to God.  No man can put a fork in death.  No man can crush Satan’s head.

 

However, the God-man can!  And He did!  To all of the above!  In the flesh of the man Jesus in which all the fullness of God dwells!  That man on the cross is God!  His human blood is divine blood.  His human suffering is divine suffering.  In His human body He, the holy and sinless God of all creation bears all your sin as well as the sin of the world.  “God made him who knew no sin to be sin,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  On Jesus is put “the iniquity of us all,” and He was “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:6, 12).  Bearing the “sin of many … the punishment … was put upon him,” (Isaiah 53:5, 12).  What punishment?  The curse and damnation of hell!  “He was made to a curse,” (Galatians 3:13).  So He laments:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  And when the man Jesus dies on the cross – God dies on the cross.

 

Told you it was scandalous – this Jesus who gets crucified.  Scandalously gracious!  Scandalously generous!  God-man Jesus on the cross is the wisdom of God.  It’s the power of God.

 

He does this for you and for your salvation!  Not just as a man – BUT PRECISELY AS GOD!  For only God can save sinners:  you, me and a whole world full!  Only God can crush Satan’s head.  On God can give eternal life.

 

Satan knows this.  He doesn’t like it nor does he want a Good Friday to take place by the God-man Jesus.  This is precisely why Satan uses several people as his tools or mouth.  The bystanders, the rulers, the soldiers, and one of the criminals crucified next to Jesus offer the satanic temptation:  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!  PULL A TRUE ACT OF GOD!  GOD CAN’T SUFFER!  GOD CAN’T DIE!  SAVE YOURSELF!  HOP OFF THAT CROSS AND THEN PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!  “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One,” (23:35).  “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself,” (23:37).  “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!” (23:39).

 

God-man Jesus stays put.  He won’t save Himself.  He is bullish on saving sinners.  And doing it only by His suffering and death!  No wonder then that He prays:  “Father, forgive these sinners.  They don’t have a clue.  They think they do but really they don’t.  So I beg you Father, don’t hold any of their sin against them on account of me.  Cleanse and wash them from the toxic pollution of their sin and unbelief because of my hemorrhaging divine blood that stains this cross and bloodies the world from my gaping wounds.”

 

“Father, forgive them.”  Who prays like this?  Not sinners.  Do you ever pray for your enemies in this way?  Kids, do you pray for your parents, coaches, sibling and teachers in this way?  Parents, do you pray for your children in this way?  Trinity, do you pray for your fellow members and your pastor in this way?  Of course …. YOU DON’T!  But God-man Jesus does.  His prayer is also for you.  “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

 

His prayer of pardon bears fruit.  His forgiveness changes a man – recreates him.  It’s His staying put on the cross for all sinners – not coming down – that creates a believer.  One of the terrorists hanging next to Him now looks to Jesus for all his good, including salvation.  And so he prays:  “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

 

Remarkably, God-man Jesus is already doing His kingdom.  His reign as King of kings and Lord of lords is from the cross.  His suffering and death is what saves sinners.  So He blurts out only the promise that He can give:  “I tell you the truth!  Today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

Heaven is for real!  Because Jesus says so.  Because Jesus promises.  Because He suffered.  Because He died.  As the GOD-man for you.  No other God than this man Jesus who hangs and dies on the cross bearing all your sin and all its punishment.  “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, making peace through his blood shed on the cross.  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation,” (Colossians 1:19-22)!

 

That’s how God is for you!  In the GOD-man Jesus!  The Good Friday GOD-man Jesus!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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