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Lamb of God Jesus MADE TO BE SIN FOR YOU!

March 6, 2014

Ash Wednesday / 5 March 2014


 Grunewald Crucifixion 4

+Jesu Juva +

Lenten Theme:  “Behold the Lamb of God That Takes Away the Sin of the World!”

John 1:29 / 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

 In Matthias Grünewald’s painting, John the Baptist points his bony finger not at himself, but at gory, gruesome, hanging-dead-on-the-cross-Jesus!  John the Baptist, the last and greatest prophet of the Old Testament, preaches … this Jesus!  Imagine that!  John makes as much of Jesus as he can!  He extols Jesus to the hilt!  Jesus is all in all!  He is the way, the truth and the life.  He is the “treasure” (Matthew 6:20) come down from heaven.  He has come to cleanse, wash, and save His people from their sins.


Therefore, John must decrease — become less.  Jesus, however, must increase – be greater, (John 3:30).  John is nothing.  Jesus is everything!  With his outstretched index finger and his prophetic mouth John proclaims the good news that Jesus is the Savior of sinners:  you, the entire world and me! That man Jesus who hangs dead on the cross is God FOR YOU!  FOR YOUR SALVATION!  “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)


Why then would you dare to exclude yourself from John’s promise in the sermon?  Why would you ever take the hellish risk of blowing off God’s promissory grace in Christ?  Why do you bullishly insist on believing the hellacious lie that you are not a sinner who desperately needs a Savior?


It’s time to be repented.  To live in and from your Baptism.  You need to be truthed by the power of God’s Word!  And here it is:  “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me … Against you, you only [LORD] have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:5, 4)!  That’s you!  It’s the truth about you!


If you purposely exclude yourself from the truth of you being a sinner, then you’ve also deliberately excluded yourself from the salvation job done by the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  After all, Jesus died only for sinners.  If you don’t believe that you’re a sinner, then you have no use for Jesus hanging on the cross.  And then you’ve bought yourself a one-way ticket straight to hell – over Jesus’ dead body! If you insist that Jesus’ dead body on the cross is a nothing, then I’m here to tell you that you are still in your sins and you will be damned in them.

I have been sent to you with another message from the Lord.  It’s this:  “Be reconciled to God.”  Put down your guns.  Let all your defenses down.  Stop the 24-7-365 justification of the self.  You are not the exception to the rule. The fact that Jesus is crucified and that He takes away the sin of the world means that you’re a sinner who needed saving!  The fact that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them,” (2 Corinthians 5:19) means that you have sinned.  When King David cries out:  “have mercy” (Psalm 51:1) it means he’s a transgressor.  It indicates that he’s polluted and septic with iniquity!  “Blot out my transgressions!” King David begs the LORD.  “Blot out,” King David implores, “my lusting for another man’s wife, my stealing her, bedding her down, impregnating her, and then murdering her husband without any fear, love or trust in you LORD.”


I beseech you brothers and sisters:  “Now is the time of God’s favor!  Now is the day of salvation!”  Christ has sent me as His ambassador to urge you “to receive God’s grace,” favor and forgiveness in His hanging-dead-on-the-cross-Son NOW, not later.  Not when it’s convenient for you.  Now, before it’s too late!


It is high time for you to believe John’s promise:  Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  That includes your sin and all your sinning against God and the people in your lives!    


Behold how Jesus takes away your sin – how He forgives it –or washes and cleanses it — from you the sinner!  It’s incredible!  It will absolutely blow your mind.  The circuit breakers in your mind are going to be blowing in astonishment of the Lord’s way of dealing with you the sinner.  I’m here to tell you that the preaching of this Jesus will “restore to [you] the joy of your salvation,” (Psalm 51:12).


Listen.  God made Jesus who knew no sin – who never sinned in his life – not even once,  “TO BE SIN!” 


Really?  “To be sin.”  Jesus?  Made to be sin?  How can that be?  He’s holy!  Divine.  He didn’t sin!  Ever!  Jesus and sin don’t go together!  Right?  Jesus and sin have to be divorced – kept apart – disconnected – as far as the east is from the west!  Right?  Got to protect holy and sinless God Jesus from the lethal rot, gunk, and filth of our and all sin!  Right?  St. Paul’s got to be wrong!  Surely he misspoke!  Or perhaps he’s just exaggerating.  If Jesus is really made to be sin on the cross, then He can’t be … God anymore.  Right?


WRONG!  Don’t fall for it!  Don’t even try to undo or untangle what God puts together!  Seriously!  Why would you want to do that?  Then you’d be left all on your own to find other ways besides Made-To-Be-Sin-Jesus to get rid of your sin and get to heaven.  You don’t want to do that.  Seriously!


Better stick with the bald and audacious assertion of the text that I’m here to preach.  “God the Father made holy, sinless, all-the-fullness-of-the-deity-dwelling-in-the-body-of-Jesus TO BE SIN!”


How?  By taking all your sin and carrying it and answering for it in His divine Body to which John the Baptist points and preaches!  “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6)!  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” (1 Peter 2:24)!  With your sin, the world’s sin, and mine Good Friday Jesus is, as one preacher from the 16th century puts it, “sinner of sinners,” and “the highest, the greatest, and the only sinner!”[1]

I know it sounds like madness – sounds so wrong — but this is what God does FOR YOU when your salvation / forgiveness is at stake!  Jesus is  “made to be sin” on the cross!


Your sin is now Christ’s sin!  He took it away from you.  And He’s answered for it.  Got damned or cursed with it.  In exchange, He gives you his holiness, purity, righteousness – in other words — FORGIVENESS.  In Jesus, “made to be sin,” God “hides his face” from your sin – He blots out or doesn’t count your sin against you.  After all, He counted it all against Jesus because He was “made to be sin!”


All this done on the Friday afternoon we call “good”!  God’s doing and giving to save you!  Carrying out a Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world salvation job!


On the cross Jesus is wrapped in all of your sin!  Your sin and Lamb of God Jesus belong together so that He is “made to be sin.”  Your sin is defeated in Made-To-Be-Sin-Jesus and only in Him.  Christ became sin FOR YOU and FOR YOUR SALVATION.


Behold, the Lamb of God / Made To Be Sin Jesus who takes away the sin of the world!  At Calvary!


And even now tonight in the Sacrament at the altar and in your mouth!  With His own Lamb-of-God-who-takes-away-the-sin-of-the-world-promise that your sin is forgiven – “creating in you the pure heart” (Psalm 51:10) of faith – as He feeds you, through my “ambassador” hands (2 Corinthians 5:20), the “treasure” (Matthew 6:21) of His Paschal Lamb body and blood with the bread and wine.  What joy!  The joy of your salvation – forgiveness — life!  Only in Him!


In the Name of Jesus.

     [1]Dr. Martin Luther, “Lecture on Galatians,” in Luther’s Works 26:278.

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