Good Friday (1st Sermon)
St. John Passion
April 3, 2015
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, X and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Christ, your Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Son, begotten of the Father from eternity, the Man born of the Virgin Mary—your Lord—has redeemed you, a lost and condemned person. He has purchased and won you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death (2nd Article).
John in his Gospel, from which we just heard the Passion sung, earlier in the book records John the Baptist explicitly identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It’s the only Gospel that records this confession. This was a central emphasis for John. He twice references Jesus as the Lamb of God in his Gospel, and in his Revelation refers to the ascended Jesus 30 times as the Lamb, especially “the Lamb who was slain.”
John is also the only Gospel to record the words from the cross, “it is finished.” We can’t help but see the connection between the promised Lamb that Abraham tells Isaac God will provide, the Passover Lamb whose blood saves Israel from the destroying Angel in Egypt, and gives them strength for their journey out of slavery, and Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose blood saves you from the destruction reserved for the devil, and whose flesh gives you strength for your journey to the Promised Land. “It is finished.” God has provided the Lamb. God has won forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation by His holy, precious blood.
“Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28). He is your sacrificial lamb. You have been made holy, sanctified, literally set apart, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10:10).
“It is finished.” Namely everything that was demanded of you in the Law.
“It is finished.” Namely all the prophecies about His suffering that were recorded for us in Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 18 and 24).
“It is finished.” Namely everything that was necessary for Christ to suffer for the forgiveness of your sins—for your adoption as God’s children, for your salvation, and for your eternal life.
All of these things were accomplished, competed, and finished in the one, all-atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In the cross, you are made His children. It is applied to you through Baptism, as St. Paul says in Romans 6 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (v. 3). It is applied to you through the Sacrament of the Altar as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (v. 26).
The death of Christ is your victory. He is the Lamb that was slain, but now lives. Now you may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He has risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity, so you too have newness of life.
In Jesus’ X Name. Amen.
Rev. Michael N. Frese
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Fort Wayne, Indiana