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Sunday of the Passion: The Theme of Blood!

April 4, 2020

Click here to watch and listen to the sermon.

Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion                       Trinity Lutheran Church

5 April 2020                                                                  Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Matthew 27:11-66


There’s so much here today.  I can’t preach it all.  So, let’s focus laserly on one particular point:  blood.  Have you ever noticed how often “blood” is referenced in the Passion Story?  It is all over the place.  Check it out.

On the night when Jesus was Judas Iscariot-ly betrayed, He institutes the Lord’s Supper.  He takes a cup of Passover wine, gives it to each of His disciples to drink and then says what had never been said before at the Passover:   “This cup is the new testament in My Blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

The Lord’s Supper is His last will and testament!  And in it Jesus promises to forgive your sin and remember it no more in the way of Jeremiah 31:34!   The Lord Jesus gives them and you today His blood as wine to drink and so binds them and you in a covenant of blood.  His!  The very Blood that will flow from His crucified Body hanging from the cross to atone for the sin of the world! His disciples and you are covenanted or testament-ed to His death and He to theirs and yours.  He is Savior for them!  And FOR YOU!  He promises! “This cup is the new testament in My Blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

And then, of course when Judas sees with his own eyes the results of his duplicitous betrayal.  Jesus gets arrested.  Jesus will die.  Judas sees his error, his enormous sin.  He is very sorry.  He takes the thirty silver pieces back to the temple and confesses his enormous transgression. “I have betrayed innocent blood,” he barks out. Absolutely true!  No doubt about.  He has sold Jesus down the river!  Betrayed the innocent Blood of Jesus!

At this point Judas is in need of some serious salvational spiritual assistance.  He goes to the priests for their religious aid.  He hopes for some high pastoral care in the way forgiveness for his sin to resolve the crime he has committed.  Yearning for an absolution to put him right with the absolute God and salve his bad conscience.  (Notice he doesn’t go to Jesus!)  Side note:  always go to Jesus with your sins.  Use Him always for the forgiveness of your sin no matter what sin it is.  He includes all sin in His Good Friday dying.  Seriously!

Judas wants to be cleared of the blood of Jesus. Tragically, however, the priests are pious quacks.  Zealous frauds. Religious charlatans.  Speaking an absolution to sinners let alone Judas isn’t even on their radar screens!  It’s not their salvational modus operandi at all!  “What is that to us?” they mockingly ask. “That’s your problem.  See to it yourself.” That’s their religion!  That’s what saves!  Do It Yourself!  However, it’s hellacious and hellific!  Judas sees to it himself!  He throws the thirty silver pieces into the temple treasury and he sees to his spiritual dilemma himself.  He goes out and hangs himself in despair of being forgiven before God. If only he had come back to Jesus!  That’s why this is so, so, tragic.  Well, the priests will not deposit the money.  And here is why.  It is “blood money”!   So, they buy the “Field of Blood” as a burial place for all the Jane and John Does of Jerusalem.

Here’s another example of “blood.”  Governor Pilate washes his hands at Jesus’ trial and says, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. He’s your problem.” And the crowd, a pro-Barabbas mob who clamored for the crucifixion of Jesus and the release of their hero says, “Let His blood be on us and on our children.”  They say it in derision and mockery, the way this world always does when it comes to Jesus, but they speak a great and profound truth. His blood must be upon you and upon your children if you are to be saved.

The difference between Barabbas and Jesus the Christ is that the blood of Barabbas cannot save you, only Jesus’ blood does. Barabbas doesn’t want you to believe that.  In fact, the terrorist Barabbas wants your blood to save him. I’ll bet if MSNBC or CNN interviewed this revolutionary insurrectionist he would have told us that he wanted us all to die for the cause – saving the world by overthrowing the Romans and then establish a utopia of his own.

Insurrectionist Barabbas, like typical Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn radical, insurrectionist, anarchist Weather Underground-ers, would want you to save the world by your own efforts. Barabbas would want you to violently protest with him in the streets, take up arms with him, blow up government buildings, murder police and military officers, shed your blood and die with him on the battlefield!

Jesus the Christ, however, the one who rides on a borrowed donkey, the one who has thorns for a crown, dies for you. He alone sheds His blood for you. He only offers His life in place of your life. He only offers His blood for the sin of the world, the redemption price of our slavery, the liberation from our “fields of blood,” our resurrection from the grave, our washing from sin in baptism by which His blood is upon us and upon our children.  Indeed.  With the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross you have forgiveness with God.  “The blood of Jesus cleanses/purifies you from all sin,” (1 Jn 1:7).  That’s the only blood that counts salvationally!  What joy!

In the Name of Jesus.



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