Faithlife Sermons

Good Friday: His Blood Upon our Heads

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Good Friday Service 2018 Welcome, introduction and prayer Steve Reading #1 Matthew 26:57-68 Belinda Song – What Wondrous Love is This Reading #2 Matthew 27:11-26 Stu Prayer of confession Song – O Sacred Head Now Wounded Reading #3 Matthew 27:27-31 Doug Song – When I survey the Wondrous Cross Reading #4 Matthew 27:32-44 John Video – Were you there? Prayer of reflection Reading #5 Matthew 27:45-50 Joy Homily Steve Communion Song – Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery Sending Good Friday Homily Matthew 27:25 – His Blood on us In today’s readings from scripture, there is a theme that is recurring. In this overall story of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, we find this theme of reversal playing out in almost every instance. In the spirit of the theme of reversal, let’s take the events in reverse order – starting with the last reading we had, which ends with “He gave up his spirit”. You see, Jesus may have been crucified at the hands of the Jewish people and the Romans, but he wasn’t killed by them, he wasn’t killed by anyone. Jesus willingly gave up his life. In John 10:18 Jesus says “No one takes (my life) from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” Jesus laid down his life for us by his own accord – while the authorities thought they had taken it from him. He gave up his life, so we could have life. Jesus says that whoever believes in him shall live, even though they shall die, and whoever lives by believing in me shall never die. The eternal one entered into time and space and died so that we could live. The creator of life died so that the creation which deserved death could live – today we can have life only because Jesus tasted death. Before Jesus gave up his spirit, he cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani”. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And in this cry of pain and agony we find another reversal. The son of God, whom for all time and eternity had existed in a perfect relationship with the Father, was forsaken. The physical pain of crucifixion was excruciating, but it did not even compare to this. In this moment the sin of the world, your sin, my sin, all the sins from the creation of the world until the re-creation of the new world were placed on the shoulders of Jesus. The one who knew no sin became sin and suffered for us. He was punished, crushed for our transgressions, smote for our unrighteous deeds. Justice was done on the cross as sin was punished, but it was not the sinners who took the punishment, it was not the transgressors who were forsaken by God – it was the sinless son of God who took the blow of justice, it was Jesus who was forsaken so you and I could be brought in, it was Jesus who was broken so you and I could be made whole, it was Jesus whom God turned his face away from in order that He might turn his face toward us. Before the cry of the forsaken, Jesus hung on the cross enduring mockery and insults. These came from those crucified beside him, the unbelieving who will continue to shake their fist at God even in the presence of his mercy and grace, and came from the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders. They called to him – save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down! He trusts in God, let God rescue him! You wonder if any of these men eventually came to faith and understood the words they had hurled at him. In another reversal, these insults and mocking voices intended to be cruel were voicing the truth of the moment. He saved others, but he can’t save himself they said. I wonder if the one who said this got saved by Jesus. What mercy is it that he didn’t save himself, but gave himself up unto death so that he could save others! He knew what he was doing – he prayed in the garden for this cup to pass – and he knew what the outcome would be, and he knew that it was for their salvation that he didn’t save himself from the cross. Those who cried out were the ones that needed saving, not him. He may have hung on a tree, but their eternal souls hung in the balance. He trusts in God, let God rescue him! But he didn’t need rescuing, he was the rescuer and even as these words left the lips of the man, he was witness his rescue playing out. Through the actions of the one on cross, those who trust in Jesus will be rescued from the wrath of God. If you are the son of God, come down! It was precisely because he is the son of God that he didn’t come down – he could’ve come down, but it was love that kept him on that cross – not duty, not weakness, not nails, but love. For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life. Before the mocking crowds Jesus sat in the company of the roman soldiers who dressed him in a robe and gave him a crown and a scepter. The crown was thorns and the scepter was used to beat him. It was a reversal of the truth when they bowed down to him in jest and with derision called out “Hail, king of the Jews”. This was the first time these men bowed before Jesus on the throne, but it would not be last. Each and every one of these men will one day stand again before the true throne of heaven, bowing before the true king, but this time, it will not be with mocking humour, it will be with awe-inspiring terror. And so we all will stand before the king and we will all bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Many of us here have already bowed and made that confession, if you haven’t, think long and hard on this day and what it means, think on your sins and what they deserve and look to the cross and see your saviour dying for you, taking your place. See the love and the mercy he has shown you and then take the step of faith, repent of your sins and believe! Before the bowing romans guards is the bloodthirsty Jewish crowd, calling out Crucify Him, Crucify him! In their last declaration before Jesus hung on the cross they all cried out in one voice – “His blood is on us and our children!” Oh how I wish they understood that statement. The blood of Christ on them and their children – but they didn’t know what they were saying. It is this same blood that pays the price for our sin; it is this same blood that washes us clean. As the old hymn says; “There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood. Lose all their guilty stains”. If they only knew that the blood they cried out for was shed for their forgiveness, the life they wanted to drain out of him was given freely so they would not have to face death. They wanted his blood shed out of anger, but they needed his shed blood for salvation – his blood on us and our children! We make the same cry now, not for violence, but for mercy, not in order to end his life, but because it is the beginning of a new life. They accepted that his blood would on their hands, but they needed his blood on their heads. Today we reflect on the great reversal – the author of life was put to death so we could live, the one who knew no sin became sin so that we could be cleaned, the one who is in perfect relationship for all eternity was forsaken so we could be accepted, the one who is the true king was ridiculed so that we could be part of the kingdom. The one who needed no saving shed his blood so we could be saved. This is why we reflect on his death, this is why we cry out – his blood on us and our children! Prayer of Confession We all, like sheep, have gone astray. We have all turned to our own way. We have sinned and have been the cause of Christ’s suffering. Please forgive us, we pray. Remove the sins that distance us from you and from those we love and care about. Remove our selfishness, our pride, our envy, and our greed. Remove from us our thoughtless acts and words that hurt one another. Remove from us the tendency to hurt others out of revenge and anger. Forgive us please. Create in us a clean heart, O Lord. And renew in us a right spirit. Amen. In the name of the compassionate Christ, you are forgiven. For God has declared, “I forgive your evil ways and remember your sins no more!” Prayer of Reflection Father, we take time now to reflect on the price of our forgiveness, the cost of our sin and the love of our saviour. Let us remember well the sacrifice of Jesus, let us understand the depth and the height of the love demonstrated on the cross. Let us be assured that because of the work of Christ, our salvation has been purchased and guaranteed. Lord, we reflect on these truths….. Amen
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