Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Sermon: "Behold Your King"

+ Good Friday – March 25th, 2016 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series C: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18-19

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

Are you the King of the Jews? Pilate asked Jesus.

Where is the one born King of the Jews? The wise men asked Herod.

From Herod’s halls to Pilate’s headquarters, this question unites Jesus’ birth and death. And that’s no accident. Why do we have Christmas? Why the joy and the feast for the newborn king? Because of this day – Good Friday. After all, Christmas Day – December 25th - will be celebrated just 9 months from today, March 25th. Puts a bigger perspective on that little manger doesn’t it. Behold your King: born for you. Lived for you. Crucified for you.

From that little town of Bethlehem to the holy city Jerusalem, Jesus’ miracles, healing, and teaching give us signs, but the signs are given to lead us here. To this day. To this hour. To Jesus’ words:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

The kings of this world – more often than not – rule for themselves. We see that in Herod and Pilate. But do not be fooled. There’s a little Herod and Pilate in each of us. Our heart is a throne room, ruled by a want-to-be-king; and our who desires is to rule over others, to serve only ourselves, and to have everyone and everything obey our whims and ways. If I were King for a day…we say. We poor sinners are full of such delusions of grandeur. We are not kings, but slaves to sin. Kings of nothing.

Thankfully for you, King Jesus does the opposite of what we would do; he does the unexpected. He is betrayed. He is mocked. He is spat upon. He is beaten. He is rejected. He is denied. He dies. He lays down his life. He is buried. And then he rises again. All for you. 
Behold your King.

His Kingdom may not be of this world, but it comes to us in this world. You are made an heir of heaven in Holy Baptism, covered in the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all your sin. You are given the King’s sacred decree: your sins are forgiven. You dine on the finest of foods and wine in the royal banquet of Jesus’ body and blood. 

Behold your King.

The kings of this world enter a city riding atop a warhorse bearing the battle sword. But Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey with palm branches. Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the king of Israel.

The kings of this world are robed in royal garments, wear golden crowns, and wield an iron scepter. But Jesus is wrapped in purple robes of mockery, crowned with thorns, and given a reed to reign in his humility…all for you.

The kings of this world seek glory in might and power, wealth and riches. But Jesus reveals his greatest glory in weakness and suffering on the cross. He gives us great wealth, though not with gold or silver, but with his holy precious blood, and his innocent suffering and death. He empties himself to fill you. He humbles himself to exalt you. He becomes sin to make you righteous. He dies and you live.

On Good Friday we finally get the answer to the magi’s question.  Where is the one born King of the Jews? He is crucified for you. The same boy who cried out for his mother as an infant now cries out on the cross to save us: It is finished!

Behold your King.

On Good Friday we also hear the answer to Pilate’s question. Are you the King of the Jews?
Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.  They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.

Behold your King!

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”  They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”  So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

Behold your King!

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.  Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

And not only of the Jews, but for the whole world. For you. Today Jesus is crucified for you. In three days Jesus will rise again for you.

Behold your King!

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

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