Saturday, April 4, 2015

Good Friday Sermon: "Sound and Silence"

+ Good Friday – April 3rd, 2015 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Isaiah 53; John 18-19

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Moments of silence are nearly impossible to find in this life. Even at night you hear sirens in the distance or the creek of an oil derrick. And every parent knows that when the kids are silent, something is going on.

And so compared to the din of the world around us, Good Friday is a quiet enigma. You won’t find Good Friday cards on the shelf at Hallmark. And you won’t find Good Friday bargains at Target. The world simply doesn’t know what to do with Good Friday. But then again, neither did Jesus’ disciples, at least not until after Jesus’ resurrection. Good Friday is a blessed paradox of sound and silence.

Even our actions reflect the nature of this holy day. We enter in silence. We’ll leave in silence. And yet we pray, praise, and sing…

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth,
The guilt of sinners bearing
And laden with the sins of earth,
None else the burden sharing;
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
To slaughter led without complaint,
That spotless life to offer,
He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies,
The mockery, and still replies,
“All this I gladly suffer” (LSB 438:1)

And as we sing and hear the Scriptures, we do so knowing all the while that the muteness of Good Friday will be replaced by jubilant shouts on Easter. Our mourning be will turned into dancing on the grave of Death itself.

The sounds and silence of Good Friday proclaim Jesus’ salvation for you.
Holy Week began with the glad shouts of “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”

Jesus declared a new Passover in his body and blood. Take; eat. This is my body given for you. Take; drink. This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you.

Jesus fills the stillness of Gethsemane with his fervent prayer: Father if it be your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.

The sounds of Holy Week lead us to the sound and silence of Good Friday. The betrayal. The trials. The lies. The mockery.

The crowds were not silent: “Crucify him.”

The soldiers were not silent: “Hail, king of the Jews.”

Pontius Pilate was not silent: “Behold the man.”

The thief crucified next to Jesus was not silent: “This man is innocent.”

Jesus’ disciples were not silent: “I do not know the man”, says Peter.

Even God’s creation cannot remain silent. The rooster crowed three times. The earth trembled.

And along with Peter, our constant denial of Jesus pangs us. The clamor of our sin shouts in our hearts, minds, and all our members: you are guilty. The Law closes our mouths. Stops our excuses. Our sin is a constant chatter of lawlessness. Our iniquity causes a hammer to strike the nails that pierce Jesus. Our transgression cracks the whip upon his back. We clamor and clang for ourselves, while Jesus goes to the cross for you. That is where the sound and silence of Good Friday point us, not to the agony and pain, but to Jesus’ free and loving desire to bear our sins in his own body on the cross.

He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

Yes, Jesus speaks, but not in his own defense. In the Garden, during his arrest, before the high priest and Pilate, even on the cross – anytime Jesus speaks it is to teach and speak his Word. Even in death, especially in his death, Jesus’ word gives life.

This is the same Word and messenger the Pharisees and Sadducees tried so hard for so many years to silence. Yet, even in death the Word made flesh cannot be silenced.
Good Friday is a day where the clamor of our sin is silenced. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Jesus goes without complaint to suffer every one of our complaints. Jesus who knew no sin becomes our every sinful, thought, word, or deed. Jesus fills the silence of Good Friday with a word of promise: Father forgiven them, for they know not what they do.
Good Friday also silences Satan. His forked tongue is muzzled. His head is crushed. Your accuser is dead. His threats are hollow.

Death is dead. The grave is silenced. And soon it will be empty. Soon its narrow chamber will be filled with shouts of victory and the voices of angels, women, disciples and all the faithful. Sin, death and hell are shut up. And in three short days we will break the silence of the tomb with a resounding, joyous refrain. Christ is risen!

Even as today we look on the cross where all is silent, as the women beat their chests in silent agony; as the disciples weep in silent fear and guilt, even the Father is silent on Good Friday, as Jesus is forsaken. Everything is silenced by the cross, except Jesus.

Jesus would not open his own mouth to save himself, but he does open it to save you.
Into the deathly silence of Good Friday, three triumphant, saving words are spoken for you…

It is finished.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment