Good Friday Trinity Lutheran Church
14 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
“It is finished.” What is finished? The achieving and winning of your salvation! Just as all the Old Testament prophets promised! Just as God Himself promised. He promised over and over again that one day He would die – that He would shed His blood – as the only sacrifice that would atone for all sin, for every sinner – FOR YOU! And now He’s gone and done it! Lamb of God Son of God Suffering Servant Lord Jesus has redeemed you a lost and condemned person!
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows … he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed … the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” When it comes to the promise of salvation everything is fulfilled and finished. Son of God Jesus has purchased and won you from all sin, from death and from the power of the devil with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death on the Good Friday cross.
It doesn’t get any more “IT IS FINISHED” than that! As God promised through Isaiah, Good Friday Suffering Servant Jesus “was numbered with the transgressors” and “bore the sin of many.” “Many” is all inclusive in the Hebrew! In other words when Jesus bore the sin of MANY He bore the sin of ALL and that includes you too!
This means that God doesn’t count your sin against you. Why? Because He counted all your sin – even the world’s sin — against His Son Jesus on the cross. He who knew no sin was made to be sin so that you, the sinner, can have the righteousness of God that is His! All your sin is on Jesus! All His holiness is on you!
The salvation job is done. Finished. Nothing more can be done. Nothing more needs to be done. Jesus did it! He is the Savior. The arm of the Lord has revealed itself in the Good Friday dying of Jesus.
Of course, judged by human standards, Servant Jesus appears to be the most unlikely agent of such a salvific mission. After all, he was “despised and rejected by men,” (Is 53:2-3). That’s quite puzzling and mysterious. However the mystery is solved and yet even heightened all the more when the rationale for Christ’s ghastly tortuous death is made known. His “griefs, sorrows,” and “stripes” are not anything that He has earned by His bad choices or sinful, evil behavior. Pilate said over and over again that, “this man has done nothing wrong,” (Lk 23:41). Hebrews 4:15 categorically teaches that Jesus was “without sin.”
However, innocent and perfect Jesus was “wounded for … transgressions” He did not commit. He was “bruised for … iniquities” of which He was not guilty. He endured the “chastisement” and the “stripes” that every sinner deserved and cannot escape. Because “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” you, the guilty go scot-free. You are forgiven. Acquitted.
From the “anguish of his soul” (Is 53) or as Hebrews says through His “prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears” (Heb 5:7) offered from the cross He is the “source of eternal salvation,” (Heb 5:9) FOR YOU!
“It is finished.” Indeed. That salvation task is done. Accomplished only by Jesus FOR YOU! He died FOR YOU! Salvation is yours. To which faith says: “Amen. Thank you.” As you believe so you have.
Happy Good Friday!
Maundy Thursday Trinity Lutheran Church
13 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Incredible! The Most High God, Teacher and Lord Jesus “loves them to the end.” He does the verbs. He loves. He serves. He gives. He rises from the table. Lays aside His garments. He ties a towel around His waist, pours a basin of water, kneels down washes and dries their feet. Servant Jesus! He does what no Hebrew slave was ever asked to do. He washed feet. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many because His “hour had come.” Not just to wash feet but the hour has come for His all sufficient, all atoning for sin and for every sinner Good Friday death.
The washing of their feet – His service to this bickering band of disciples – is hooked with His Supper – the giving of His body and blood with the bread and wine with the promise that it is “given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.” His love, His giving, His serving is enormous. Salvifically giganitic it is in the sublime humility of His dying on the cross and giving you the salvational inheritance He won FOR YOU there. From His body on the cross to the chalice into your mouths, His Good-Friday-for-forgiveness–for-salvation–blood flows into your mouth.
Your faith in Him is strengthened. He truly is the Savior. Savior FOR YOU! There is no other.
So, as the fruit of His giving, His serving, His love, His forgiveness, His Body, His Blood in the Sacrament there is the fervent love for one another. Just as the Lord mandated. “A new command I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love one another.”
Did you notice? “As I have loved you!” As you cling to His dying FOR YOU in faith – as you hang on to His promise of forgiveness, life and salvation in baptism, absolution, preaching and the Supper – as Jesus loves you – then you are able to love one another.
Fed with the Lord’s body and blood tonight in the Lord’s Supper you are like a branch that is fed by the vine to which it is attached so that you love others as Jesus has loved you.
The Lord’s love poured out FOR YOU on the cross, poured into you in your baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar, bears fruit as His love has its way with you. The same body and blood that bent down as a servant to wash the dirty feet of His disciples, now bends your body down to wash the soiled feet of one another, cleaning one another, forgiving one another, loving one another. “By this all will know that you are my disciples, when you have love for one another.”
Let’s be clear. You don’t love others in order to be loved by God. Jesus loved you to death on the cross before you ever loved Him. While you were His enemies – dead in your trespasses and sins, Jesus laid down His life FOR YOU. His was “love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be” as one of the Lenten hymns confesses it.
You love each other because you are loved by God in His Son Jesus Christ. His washing you in holy baptism and His giving you His body and blood tonight in the Supper bear witness to you that He loves you. On the cross. Tonight. And TO THE END!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
That’s precisely what you want to do! His love enlivens you to do just that. He uses you as His instruments, His hands, His mouth, to care for others through your love for them. After all, Jesus doesn’t need your love – but your neighbor does! Through you He sees to it that His love flow through you to others.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ His dear Son!
Sunday of the Passion Trinity Lutheran Church
9 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Confirmation of Shay Campbell, Sophia Frank, Brooke Mills, Maycee Platt, Haylee Josoff, Evelyn and Reagan Henrichsen
Son of God Jesus is sorely tempted. Satanically tempted. It wasn’t the first time but here it comes so deliciously and pious. And the temptation goes like this: “Hop off that cross if you truly are the Son of God! Seriously! The Son of God should never have to suffer let alone die like this! As the worst of sinners! Cursed! Damned! So Son of God Jesus – get off. We’re all in for a cross-less, no suffering and no dying Son of God. We want the kingdom of God without all this humiliation and death! And the minute you come down from the cross we’ll believe in you. Did you hear that Jesus? It’s what you always wanted! People that believe in you! OK. We’ll do it. But only if you come down.”
Shay, Sophia, Brooke, Maycee, Haylee, Evelyn and Reagan, if Jesus jumped off the cross, what kind of Savior would He be? What kind of Savior would He be if He didn’t’ die on the cross? The answer: NO SAVIOR AT ALL! He’d be of no salvific help whatsoever to you or to anyone else for that matter. So, FOR YOU He stays put! Nothing and no one can get Son of God Jesus off the wood of the cross.
He does what it takes to save sinners — you, me and an entire world full. He must do His Father’s will – His Father’s categorical and delightful desire to redeem His rebellious creatures. And for that Son of God Jesus pulls off a Good Friday! So, Son of God Jesus dies alone. He tastes death to the full. Completely drinks the cup of His Father’s wrath against all sin and every sinner. He is numbered with the transgressors and counted or reckoned as THE Sinner – Maximum Sinner – as He bears in His Body the sin of the world. Your sin – all of it – is His. He takes it. Leaves none out.
Can you name any sin He didn’t die for? Of course not! So, with all sin including yours carried in His crucified Body He is forsaken by His Father. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Here Jesus suffers the eternal damnation of hell in your place and FOR YOU! What you and every sinner deserves because of their sin, Jesus endures. And yet even in that forsaken hour Jesus still prays. He laments. He trusts. He still calls God MY God. He steadfastly remains the Suffering Servant that “walks in darkness and has no light, yet … relies upon his God,” (Isaiah 50:10).
Girls, I have the greatest news you and all gathered here today at Trinity could ever hear. It is this. Because Jesus stayed put on the cross your sin doesn’t belong to you anymore. He answered for it as well as all of its hellacious damnation. In exchange, He gives you forgiveness, life and salvation.
Your salvation depends on Jesus dying on the cross with all your sin and burying it in the black hole of His death. Your salvation depends on Jesus being obedient to the point of death even death on the Good Friday Cross. If Jesus had jumped off the cross then you’d still be in your sins and your sins would damn you.
But He didn’t. He steadfastly stayed put. He shed His divine blood for you to atone for all your sin. There is no sin that isn’t answered for in His death on the cross. He died FOR YOU! WILLINGLY! PURPOSELY! This was no accident. Again, Jesus does what it takes TO SAVE YOU.
After seeing how faithful Jesus remains in His crucifixion, the centurion tells the truth: “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Jesus really is the Son of God precisely in His humility. His humbling of Himself. His giving of Himself into death. His self-giving. Emptying Himself by pouring out His soul to death – death on the cross. As the Son of God, Jesus donates Himself in His Good Friday crucifixion FOR YOU and for your salvation. He is the Son of God that SAVES YOU.
That is exactly what you are given to believe and confess today and the rest of your lives as His died for sinners. Every Sunday you are given to confess that “Truly this was the Son of God,” when you eat and drink Jesus’ crucified Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper. He says it is “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins.”
When you believe these words of Jesus you have exactly what they say. With your sins forgiven and eternal life given in that forgiveness, Jesus has good use of you. It is the life of love. Self-giving, self-donating love. Not to be served but to serve and to give your life in the sacrificial service of love for those that need it. Your kids. Your grandkids. The members of this congregation or your community. The old woman down the street. The poor immigrant that just came to your school. Offer your bodies as living sacrifices St. Paul says in Romans 12. He put it this way in today’s Epistle: “have this mind among yourselves.” That’s the mind of Jesus – the life of service for others. Emptying yourself for those in need.
“Truly this was the Son of God.” That’s faith. Faith in Jesus will naturally lead you to love others. To serve them. Help them. Faith toward Jesus. Fervent Love for others. That’s the shape of the Christian life. Come to the Lord’s Supper. Eat and drink. It’s Son of God Jesus’ Good Friday Body and Blood. You’ll learn to know it’s the truth.
Happy Confirmation Day, Shay, Sophia, Brooke, Maycee, Haylee, Evelyn and Reagan. Happy believing in Son of God Savior Jesus! He is the Lord. FOR YOU!
In the Name of Jesus.
Saturday of Lent 5 Trinity Lutheran Church
8 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Wedding of Cari Laughlin & Jason Swierczek
Wow! Isn’t this wonderful? It sure is! So exciting. Very good! Just like in the beginning with Adam and Eve. It wasn’t good for man to be alone. So the Lord created Eve from Adam’s side and gave her to him. Husband. Wife. Holy Marriage! It’s for a man and a woman. Just the way the Lord intended.
So here we are today. The Lord is pleased. This is very good. Another wedding. Cari’s and Jason’s. No. Check that. Holy marriage doesn’t belong to you two. It doesn’t belong to any of us. It’s the Lord’s. He gives it to us to use properly.
Now you’re getting quite nervous, aren’t you? You’re all squirming in your seats, right? Why? Well, not only did Cari and Jason ask Kuhlman to preach (as if that isn’t scandalous enough) but mainly it is because you all believe – you all categorically consider and infallibly infer – that marriage totally belongs to you. That you own it like it’s you own personal possession.
Clearly, when you believe that, then you think you can do anything you want with marriage. However, that’s a huge mistake. No wonder our country and our lives are in such shambles. Seriously. Let’s learn differently today. Let’s begin to live repentantly and trust that holy marriage is a gift from the Lord and it is to be used according to His Word and His will. FOR OUR BENEFIT! FOR OUR GOOD!
Marital living as husband and wife consists of faith toward Jesus who died for you. Can’t ever live in holy marriage as if you don’t need Jesus. You need Jesus. Every day. As the Savior of sinners that He is. You will sin against each other. Unintentionally. Intentionally. You know that. So, you must have good use of Jesus and the Good Friday forgiveness that He won for you on the cross. The pillow talk of: “I love you,” is very important for a marriage. However, the salvific talk of: “I forgive you,” is just as vital. For in those words Jesus mediates. He forgives. His blood covers and cleanses you from your sin against each other.
Jason, your wedding gift to Cari is your promise to exercise husbandly headship. Today, the Lord authorizes you to be the head of this marriage. Such headship or authority is to … love Cari. To live totally for her. To serve her. To care for her. Just as Christ “loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Jesus went all in for His bride the church. Died for her. Took the bullet for her. Calvary. So too you Jason. Today, you’re promising Cari that you’re all in FOR HER! For better for worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health. That you’ll be faithful to her. Entirely!
That’s precisely why Cari steps up to the plate today and promises to be wife to Jason. That’s her gift to this marriage. She will be the body of this marriage. She promises to receive his love. To relish it. To be a helper. For better for worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness and in health.
Just like St. Paul says: “Wives, submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” Don’t panic! All that means is that Cari will order her life as wife to Jason. That’s all. She will be wife to and for him — for life. Like God intended from the beginning when He gave Eve to Adam as a helper. Cari “respects” a man who will love her just like Christ loves His bride the church. That’s a guy any woman would want! Too late ladies! Cari already nabbed him. So, all you single gals need to ask God to give you a man like that and then purposely look for one. Seriously!
Well, Cari and Jason, we are all thrilled that the Lord has good creaturely use of you to be husband and wife for the sake of each other’s benefit. God willing, there will be further good use of you as Dad and Mom. Living the life of sacrificial love for your children. That too is very God pleasing. It goes all the way back to the beginning. The “very good” of the Lord’s creation.
Cari and Jason, since Holy Marriage is the Lord’s very good astonishing gift to you, enjoy it. Work hard at it. Tend it. Nourish it. Fertilize it. Weed it. Water it. Relish the fruit that comes from it. Have a wonderful time in the rough and tumble estate of holy marriage. It is not easy. But what is? Trust the Lord. Make good use of His forgiveness for Jesus’ sake by eating and drinking His body and blood regularly in the Lord’s Supper. Be marriage lifers. After all, the Lord loves it. He created it. He promises to bless you in it as you eagerly desire to live in holy marriage according to His Word and will.
We’re all rooting for you. Praying for you. When you need some advice, there’s always Grandpa Reinke. You know what he’ll do? He’ll farm out the marriage advice to Kuhlman. And me? Well, I work for the Lord. So all you’ll get from me is what the Lord says about holy marriage. Nothing better than that, right? Absolutely. So I’ll leave the light on for you. Wink. Wink.
Happy Wedding Day Cari and Jason!
In the Name of Jesus.
Wednesday of Lent 5 Trinity Lutheran Church
5 April 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Hebrews 13:9-16 / Blood That Sanctifies
Holiness. Sanctification. That’s a huge topic in the Bible. And what’s most remarkable is that God shares and gives His holiness to unholy and impure sinners.
How does God do this? From the altar where the Good Friday sacrificial divine Blood of Jesus is given to you to drink with the wine in the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. Jesus’ Lamb-of-God-Blood not only sets you free from your sin but it actually holies you.
Now, tonight’s text from Hebrews references the Old Testament’s practices associated with the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur that is describes in Leviticus. On the Day of Atonement the carcasses of the animals slaughtered for sacrifice would be DRAINED OF THEIR BLOOD. Then the high priest would carry the blood into the Holy of Holies – God’s throne. However, the bodies of the sacrificed animals would be burned outside the camp of Israel. Tonight’s text draws an analogy with the Good Friday death of Jesus on the cross. It says that Jesus “suffered outside the gate.” That is, Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem as we heard in the Passion Reading a few minutes ago. Jesus suffered outside the capital city. He shed His Blood – His Blood was drained from His Body as He died on the cross. His Good-Friday-Drained-From-His-Body-Blood gives you God’s holiness. Sanctification!
The ceremonies of the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament were repeated year after year. They pointed to the day when God Himself would die. When God Himself – Jesus – the Lamb of God – would be sacrificed as the one and only sacrifice that atones for all sinners and every sin. Remarkably, as He dies on the cross Jesus is both the Lamb that dies and the High Priest that offers the bloody atoning sacrifice. With His own divine Blood offered on the cross Jesus enters the heavenly Holy of Holies to make an everlasting atonement for all sin. His Good Friday sacrifice is made once and for all. Once for all time. Once for all people. The work of salvation is done. “It is finished,” Jesus said from the cross. So, there is no need for any of the Old Testament sacrifices. They are fulfilled in Jesus!
Now, let me repeat. This Good Friday Blood of Jesus shed on the cross holies you – sanctifies you. He cleanses you from the impurity and toxicity of your sin. By His Blood you are His holy people. People that belong to Him and who can stand before Him and live. The New Testament Book of Revelation describes you with these words: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God the Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever,” (1:5).
You are holy. Holied / Sanctified for salvation. The Blood of Jesus says so. So, now what? How are you, God’s holy people, given to live? Tonight’s text makes two points. First, “Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek the one to come.” In other words, we are to go where Jesus is. Where Jesus is FOR YOU. THAT IS IN HIS WORD OF FORGIVENESS preached and given every Sunday in the absolution and the Lord’s Supper. We go to where Jesus distributes the fruit or benefits of His Good Friday death – that’s the divine service – as we await the heavenly Jerusalem that is to come on the Last Day. In the divine service Jesus continually bestows His holiness and maintains it FOR US.
Second, the text says that we are to “continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” As His holy people, holied by the Good Friday atoning sacrifice of Jesus, we praise God for the gift of Jesus, give thanks and help those in need. Those are sacrifices that serve the neighbor with love. In other words, we live for others, not ourselves. This too is God’s good use of us in this life.
Just as Romans 12 teaches. As a fruit of God’s Good Friday mercy given to us in Jesus, we offer our bodies as living sacrifices. In other words, in our daily lives we live not to be served but to serve our neighbor in love. Putting their needs above our own. Sacrificing our time, money and abilities to serve those that need help.
Jesus holies our lips to praise His holy name. In addition, He holies our lives to live for Him in loving service to the needy neighbor. God doesn’t need your works. Your neighbor does. So, in Psalm 50 the Lord declares, “If I were hungry I would not tell you for the world is mine and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” You see, God doesn’t need our food, the work of our hands, or our money. But your neighbor needs these things.
Living outside of ourselves by faith in Jesus we then will live outside ourselves in love toward the neighbor. Holy people of Jesus live holy lives. That means you do works of love for those that need your help. The blood of Jesus holies – sanctifies you. For salvation. Now, be of good use in this world as His holy people by loving and helping one another and others that need your love. It’s what Jesus expects and you, His holied people, want to do it. What joy!
In the name of Jesus.