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Eighth Commandment Savior Jesus!

February 26, 2015

Jesus Condemned by michael o'brian

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Midweek Lent 1

25 February 2015


Catechetical Sermon Series: The Ten Commandments


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Matthew 26:59-61 / Commandment 8


Well, there He is! The Lord Jesus. Accused, arrested and handcuffed in the courtroom of the solemn and very religious Sanhedrin! He was swiftly hauled into the Sanhedrin’s court.


It is up to these leaders to provide justice. So, when you have a trial in the Sanhedrin’s courtroom with the High Priest Caiaphas presiding, you would never expect there to be false witnesses and false testimony. After all, mouths are to be used properly in court! Only the truth should be told in court. No lies. Not even little white lies! No slander, falsehood, or tall tales of any kind. Not even a fib! After all, God gave the Eighth Commandment to protect and enhance the reputation of your neighbor.


Have you ever been called to be a witness in a court case? Before you sit in the witness stand you have to raise your right hand, put your left hand on the Bible and swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth – so help you God. Serious stuff. Serious as a heart attack stuff. In the end, someone’s standing, reputation, name, character – and perhaps someone’s life is on the line. So, as God is your witness, you’d better tell the truth and nothing but the truth in court or anywhere for that matter.


Surely the Sanhedrin court wants to hear the truth about Jesus, right? The whole truth and nothing but the truth, right?


Listen carefully to what happens. “Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council SOUGHT FALSE TESTIMONY against Jesus to put Him to death.”


Did you hear that? The authorities want to hear witnesses. But what they deliberately want are FALSE WITNESSES! They lust for liars to provide FALSE TESTIMONY against Jesus so that they can put Him on death row! The trial is rigged! The fix is in! Highly illegal! Flat out criminal!


The authorities, even the very religious big wigs and the best of Israel’s society, would do that? To Jesus? Sure. Without blinking an eye! And so would you. Their story is your story. Their sin is your sin. You’re experts in giving false witness. You’ve got it down pat. It’s part of who you are. Betraying, slandering, and saying the worst about people — especially those that are the closest to you. Even Jesus!


Yes, even Jesus! Even if it kills Him! You probably don’t even realize how you do it. And you probably don’t even mean to do it. I sure hope you don’t mean to. But you do it. In the courtroom of everyday life. How? One of the most prominent ways is this: when your heart, body and mouth are perpetually missing from the Sunday divine service you bear false witness against Jesus. You ruin and murder His reputation. Really, you do. Chronic absence from church speaks volumes not only to your fellow Christians but to the world.


Persistent non-attendance at the divine service slanderously preaches and maliciously proclaims that Jesus really doesn’t matter to you. That His Good Friday dying and Easter rising are nothings as far as you are concerned. That He really isn’t God FOR YOU. Consequently, His reputation in your family, in your community and this congregation is harmed if not ruined by such false witness against Him.

Well, in the Sanhedrin courtroom false witness after false witness comes forward. Lie after lie is spewed against completely innocent Jesus. No one cares to defend his reputation or speak well of Him. But all their misinformation and all their propaganda are not clinching Jesus’ execution.


Finally, two false witnesses come forward. They figure it’s best just to quote Jesus verbatim. They refer to one of Jesus’ recent sermons. A provocative and confrontational sermon. A sermon that, no doubt, raised many an eyebrow. A discourse that made the hair on the back of many religious and political VIP Jerusalem necks stand up. Like fingernails on a chalkboard!


The bribed false witnesses say that Jesus’ sermon went like this: “This fellow [Jesus] categorically and audaciously declared, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’”


You’d think Jesus would strenuously object. But He doesn’t! Why? Well, He actually did preach that sermon! The false witnesses actually tell the truth! Isn’t that something? The court desperately wants false witness but the liars actually tell the truth! Jesus did say those words in a sermon!


But Jesus wasn’t referring to the brick and mortar temple building in Jerusalem that King Herod built. Instead, Jesus was preaching about Himself in that sermon. The “temple” that would be destroyed and rebuilt in three days was HIS BODY. In other words, Jesus was preaching His death and resurrection! “Destroy this temple [my body] and in three days I’ll rebuild it [raise it from the dead].”   A Good Friday and Easter Sunday sermon!


Additionally, when Jesus declares that His body is the temple, He is emphatically declaring that He is God. That His body – His flesh – is the dwelling of God on the earth! Or to put it quite bluntly – that He is Immanuel – God with us – templing or tabernacling in the flesh! That in His body born of the Virgin Mary all the fullness of the deity temples or tablernacles in the world.


Well, this truth – that Jesus did in fact preach — that came from mouths in the courtroom that were paid to break the Eighth Commandment — is just too much for the Sanhedrin’s ears, especially High Priest Caiaphas. They take what is true and twist it. Make Jesus to be the liar, the deceiver. They cannot and will not stomach the truth! This preacher’s body cannot be God’s dwelling on the earth! There’s just no way in … that this man’s body can be the divine temple in the flesh! He can’t be God in the flesh! He can’t be Immanuel! No preacher man can say that! It’s got to be a lie. The biggest religious lie ever told! Blasphemy!


So, the court concludes that Jesus must die!


What the court meant for evil Jesus turns and uses for good. Your good. Your eternal good. For your salvation. All your breaking of the Eighth Commandment – all your slandering – all your gossiping – all your false witnessing and lying — because you do not fear, love or trust in God above all things — Jesus willingly takes from you. He insists on it. All your sin is now His. It all belongs to Him because He carries it and answers for it in His temple, that is, His body on the cross.


Jesus does what must be done with your sin. In order to save you the sinner. In His temple, that is, His body He wraps Himself with all your sin and gets damned with it. Then He pulls off an Easter Sunday on the third day. In order to tell you the truth! And the truth is this: You, yes you, sinner, are forgiven. He doesn’t count your sin against you anymore. For it was all counted against Him.


Brothers and sisters, I’m here to tell you that Jesus is God in the flesh FOR YOU! For your salvation. His Good-Friday-destroy-this-temple-death and His in-three-days-I-will-rebuild-it-Easter-Sunday-resurrection means that He speaks no evil of you. Refuses to!


Since He has shed His divine blood for you and covered you with it, He has only good things to say about you. Like this: “Do you see my servants Devin? Hannah? Grace? Alexander? Jaxson? Mallory? Kenna? Taylor? Maddy? Josh? Cindy? Oh sure, they’re sinners. But they’re my sinners! I died for them! I’ve forgiven them. I’ve put my name on them in Holy Baptism. They are my forgiven holy ones!”    


Now the Lord Jesus has Eighth Commandment good use for you. You want to be used for good, don’t you? Of course you do. His good word of forgiveness enlivens you to have Eighth Commandment mouths and tongues. That means you use your lips to defend your neighbor’s reputation. To stand up for your neighbor’s character. To speak well of your neighbor. To explain everything about your neighbor in the kindest way. To use your mouth and tongue differently – to edify people, to build up folks, to tell the truth about individuals.


And most especially to tell the truth of Jesus! To stand up for His reputation. Yes, Jesus, whose temple body was destroyed/died on the Friday we all call good and then rebuilt/resurrected in three days FOR YOU. That’s what it took for Jesus to save you!


You tell the truth that Jesus is your Savior by what you say and by what you do. One way is that you will now go to church on Sunday to worship Him. That with your mouth you’ll confess loud and clear what’s in your heart. That Jesus is Lord! Who redeemed you a lost and condemned person with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.


With your mouth you will pray to Him – depending on Him alone to be God FOR YOU. Looking to Him for all your good – bodily and spiritually.


With your mouth you will eat and drink His crucified and risen body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. You will confess what is true — that His body and blood are truly FOR YOU for your forgiveness as you give your full throated “Amen.”


That’s speaking well of Jesus. Telling the truth of Jesus. His divine reputation as the Savior of sinners. You. Me. The world full.


In the Name of Jesus.


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