Good Friday Vespers Sermon
Hebrews 10: 1-25
There is no longer an offering for sin. That is done, finished. The flow of blood in the Temple from bulls and goats has been stopped.
But blood still flows. It continues in the Sacrament of the Altar. There we are sanctified by the Body that was crucified for us and there by the Blood poured out on Calvary we enter into the holy places. It no longer comes from bulls and goats, but the Blood still flows.
Then, on the cross, He did it according to His humiliation. As a Man, He denied Himself His Divine powers. He let His blood flow from lash, thorn, and nail, until at last, it gushed out upon the earth from the centurion’s spear and He was dead. Now, He does it, pours out His Blood, according to His exaltation. His Blood flows from His humanity but with Divine attributes. Then, when He did it, it was a sacrifice, but now, He lives, and as a Man, He always and fully uses His Divine powers. It is not a sacrifice to God. It is a gift for men from the sacrifice. His humiliation is ended, but the Blood still flows, and that, quite pointedly, for us – to sanctify, forgive, and strengthen us.
The Holy Supper, as described in Hebrews, is directly tied to the Sacrifice on the cross, but it is not a re-sacrifice. That is done, finished. The flow of Blood does not cause Him any pain. It is human Blood. It has the DNA of St. Mary. You can’t stick it under a microscope and see it for what it is, it is seen by faith, but received by the mouth. The point is that Our God has taken up our cause and become a Man in order to have blood. The life is in the blood. He is still a Man and He gives His life to us.
Now He is exalted. The sacrifice and penalty for sin has ended. This is not His funeral. We know full well that He lives. If we mourn, let us mourn for our sins, let us mourn for the harm that we’ve caused, for the lies that we’ve told, but do not mourn for Jesus. Not only because He is not dead, but also because He is not sad and He has no regrets. He died in love, to pour out His Blood and make us His, that we might have His life and live with Him.
Let us then draw near with a true heart, a heart cleansed by Blood, that beats to the Spirit’s drum, that rejoices in Him who offers up the Son, that desires to love God and neighbor, to live a life worthy of the calling. Let us draw near, in repentance and contrition and joy, with full assurance of faith, trusting that God has kept His promise for us and to us, that He has satisfied the Law’s demands and filled its shadows and that there is no longer an offering for sin, that Hell has lost all claim upon us, that the sacrifices have ended, never again will a bull or a goat or a man be killed for sins.
The sacrifices have ended, but the gifts still come. Sins are forgiven. Death is undone. The Temple veil is split. The grave that was sealed is open. The devil’s skull lies crushed and the bruised Heel brings good news from God.
The Law’s demands have been met. There is no one left to accuse us. So let us draw near, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, with our bodies washed with the pure water of Holy Baptism and let us hold fast the confession of our hope. We are redeemed, saved, rescued from death and Hell. We have great expectations. Not only has the angel of death seen the Blood on us and passed over, not only are we been redeemed and reconciled to the Father, counted as the children of God and made heirs to His Kingdom, but we have hope. We have a future. Good as this is, this isn’t all there is. He, who was crucified, who is risen from the dead and ascended to the Father, He is coming back.
He has made our atonement with Blood. He has ended Satan’s reign and broke his jaw and stopped his true accusations and his lies. Let us hold fast to that confession: that Jesus died for us and loves us, that Jesus lives, that Satan is defeated and that Jesus is coming back. Let us hold that confession without wavering for He who promised is faithful and by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified, who partake of His Blood and enter the holy place.
He is risen. He is faithful. He is coming back. And His Blood, thanks be to God, His Blood is upon us.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.