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Truly This Man Was the Son of God

March 29, 2015

the-crucifixion-1

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Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion Trinity Lutheran Church

29 March 2015                             Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +
Mark 15:39

Confirmation of Cindy Mather, Hannah Mather, Devin Mather, Mallory Pavlik, Madison Nolte and Alexander Endorf

 

St. Mark’s Gospel ends like it begins. St. Mark is bullish on confessing that Jesus is God’s Son! Check it out! Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” At His baptism in the Jordan the Father declares: “You, [Jesus] are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” (Mk 1:11). And now at the end in Mark 15:39 we hear it again. From out of nowhere and totally unexpected someone at the foot of the cross dares to declare it again: “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

 

Which Man is the Son of God? According to a Roman centurion (of all people) the mocked, brutally beaten, nailed and hung on the wooden cross as a capital criminal, graveyard dead Jesus is the Son of God! Really? The dead Man Jesus is the Son of God?

 

Yes, indeed! Absolutely! Let there be no doubt about it. “Truly!” the Roman centurion declares. The corpse suspended on the cross is the Son of God! We would have expected someone else to say such a thing! Like Peter. James or John. Matthew. Mary His mother. Mary Magdelene. But no! The soldier most likely in charge of the brutal crucifixion is the one that tells the truth. Frankly. Forthrightly. Bluntly. He makes no bones about it: “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

 

Doesn’t the centurion realize what such a remark could cost him? Is He now a follower of this Jesus? Is He now a disciple of this Jesus? Is He a … CHRISTIAN now! In the Roman empire, Christians got blamed for all the empire’s problems. This centurion is on thin ice. He could lose his military rank and be dishonorably discharged for saying such a thing. Confess the crucified dead Man Jesus as the Son of God and he could lose his fat paycheck, health care plan, retirement, reputation, his family and friends. What’s more, he could even lose his life. The bold confession “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” could lead to his being arrested, jailed, and taken to the Roman coliseum. There in front of a sold out stadium his body would be ripped apart by lions, burned in a vat of super hot oil or viciously hung on a cross like that Man Jesus to the full delight and full-throated cheers of the coliseum crowd.

 

Obviously the centurion doesn’t care. He is not ashamed to confess the truth. He is willing to “deny himself, take up his cross and follow” Jesus (Mark 8:34). The soldier in charge of 100 wants all to hear it the good news of salvation. “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” he audaciously declares. Jesus is Son of God Savior for him. Son of God Savior for you. Son of God Savior for the world. The only one! And the only way!

 

Yes, Jesus is the Son of God – FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR SALVATION. Jesus wrapped himself up with all your sin, the world’s sin and the centurion’s sin. “Numbered with the transgressors!” Carrying all sin – even you’re your sin — this Man Jesus was counted and damned as the sinner. That’s why He cries out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Consequently, your sins don’t belong to you any more. Jesus took them. And by His death on the cross you are forgiven.

 

“Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Cindy, Hannah, Devin, Madison, Mallory and Alexander, and Trinity congregation, is that your confession too? It is? Wonderful! God bless you!

 

In addition, may God protect you, embolden you, and keep you faithful in declaring and believing: “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” After all, such a confession might cost you dearly. We live in a world where being a follower, a disciple of Jesus, is very dicey and dangerous just like it was in the Roman empire some 2,000 years ago.

 

I hope it doesn’t happen, really I don’t, but do not be surprised when you get a bad grade in a class, when people don’t want to hang out with you, when you’re not accepted into college, when you don’t get the job you want, when you get let go from the job you have, when you lose friends and family, reputation, property and social status BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN! Because you boldly confess like the centurion: “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

 

For such a confession you may be labeled a “religious extremist.” A fanatical lunatic. Psychotic. A hater. An enemy of freedom. And if you stick with “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” confession, everything may be taken from you. Perhaps even your life.

 

Remember the questions I asked you earlier? “Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death?” “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” Your promises may be put to the test sooner rather than later by the world, the devil and your own sinful flesh – the old Adam.

 

When the testing comes – you all know what to say. The centurion’s words are your words: “Truly this Man was the Son of God! He died for me. I am baptized in His Name. He gives me His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. His promises are: ‘Whoever confesses Me before men, I will confess before My Father who is in heaven,’ and ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.’” (Mark 16:16).

 

Happy Confirmation Day Cindy, Hannah, Devin, Madison, Mallory, and Alexander. May your baptisms bear much fruit in your life – confessing Jesus as the Son of God – for your salvation and for the resurrection of your bodies on the Last Day.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

 

 

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