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The Palace of the High Priest: The Sweet Salvational Swap!

March 8, 2018

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Wednesday of Lent 3                                 Trinity Lutheran Church

7 March 2018                                              Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


The Passion of Our Lord: The Palace of the High Priest

Lenten Theme: The Sweet Salvational Swap!


This is really amazing. Do you see what Jesus suffers? And He suffers mostly in silence? Wave after wave of hatred sweeps over Him. The cruelty engulfs Him. Swallows Him up.


Check it out. Falsely arrested. What injustice! False testimony from false witnesses. His reputation is ruined by liars and frauds. Then the high priest puts Jesus under oath and asks the most important question: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus replies: “I am.” “Blasphemy! Blasphemy!” screams the high priest! He tears his garments to justify the accusations that Jesus is a blatant false teacher, that Jesus is a faux Christ who deserves nothing but the death penalty PDQ!


The piling on continues unabated. They hock loogies from deep in their gullets. The spit wads rain down on Jesus’ head. The disgusting mucus drips from His face. Then He’s blindfolded and the fists fly. Blow after blow. Haymaker after haymaker. His nose — smashed. Did you hear it crack? His eyes are now swollen shut. His lips, well. I think I heard another crack. Was it an eye socket or a cheekbone? Maybe both. The brutal beating all done to mock Him. To viciously make fun of Him and to totally discredit His claim to be the Messiah.


What’s worse, it seems, is that Jesus for the most part remains silent. He’s sinned against. Totally and completely. What will He do with all this sin? What will He do with all these sinners?


Here’s what He will do? He SUFFERS IT! He TAKES IT! He ENDURES IT! HE’S SOAKING UP ALL THE SIN IS HIS BODY – OF EVERY SINNER in order to take it to the cross and atone for it by His divine blood – the blood that cleanses from all sin. And because of His Good Friday atoning death on the cross all sin and every sinner are forgiven.


No wonder He remains silent. No wonder He doesn’t scream or yell back. He knows what He’s doing. And He knows what He does will be utterly and joyfully salvific and salvational FOR ALL sinners. Including you! Jesus goes as the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth. Jesus is the Suffering Servant who “opened not His mouth” when the LORD laid on Him “the iniquity [or sin] of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6-7).


Yes, Jesus endures it all in silence. He endures it alone. Peter, the “first” of His disciples and apostles (Matthew 10:2) vehemently denies Jesus with oaths and curses. You’d think Peter would know better. You’d think Peter would have confessed Jesus when push came to shove and told the maidservants and others standing around him, “I sure do know Jesus! He is the Messiah just as He says. I believe in Him. Would you like to believe in Him too?” But he didn’t. He failed. He sinned. Miserably. Disastrously. Against Jesus. Peter’s sin, too, becomes part of the Good Friday burden laid on Suffering Servant Jesus.


And so does your sin! All of it! All your sin Jesus willing takes in His Body as it suffers and dies on the cross. All of the hellish damnation that you sin earned Jesus says: “It’s mine. Give it all to me.” He swaps out all your sin and all its damnation with His forgiveness. His holiness. His perfection. His righteousness. Jesus, who knew no sin was made to be sin as He carries and answers for all sin in His Good Friday suffering and death. Why? So that you have His perfect and holy righteousness to wear as your own. In the Good Friday forgiveness of sins that Jesus gives you in baptism, absolution, preaching and the Lord’s Supper, you are clothed and wrapped in His purity! His flawlessness! His holiness!


What’s yours is His. All your sin. All your hellacious damnation. He took all that from you, bore it, answered and atoned for it all in His Good Friday crucified-on-the-cross-body. What’s His is now yours. Again, that’s all His perfection, righteousness and purity that comes to you in the forgiveness of sins that He gives in Word and sacrament. This is the sweet salvation swap! Jesus does it FOR YOU!


Sadly, Judas didn’t believe that. He believed that his betrayal was too big a sin for Jesus to forgive – that Jesus wasn’t Savior enough for him and his wretched sin. “I have sinned. I have betrayed innocent blood,” was his truthful confession. But the chief priests and elders were of no help. “What is that to us. See to it yourself.” See to it yourself? Really? As if Judas could answer for his sin and forgive himself? Really? He needed Jesus! He needed Jesus’ forgiveness! Judas despaired of that. So, taking matters into his own hands – in one last attempt to justify himself and answer for his sin, “he went and hanged himself.”


There’s only one hanging that answers for all sin and every sinner. What hanging is that? It’s when Jesus was hung on the cross bearing all sin. He and He alone sees to it that salvation gets done – when He atones for all sin and every sinner by His death on the cross.


Believe that! Believe it and you have it. Believe what? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe That for Jesus’ sake you are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are saved. He saw to that! His Good Friday death is more than enough for any and every sin of yours whether it’s a Peter-size sin or Judas-size one.  All is forgiven in Jesus. What joy!


In the Name of Jesus.

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