Home > Sermons, The Holy Cross > Good Friday, Hauptgottesdienst: To Bear Witness to the Truth

Good Friday, Hauptgottesdienst: To Bear Witness to the Truth

Good Friday—Chief Service

St. Peter Lutheran Church

John 18-19, Is. 53

“To Bear Witness to the Truth”

April 6, 2012


Dear brothers and sisters for Whom Jesus was willing to die upon the cross;

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Text: For this reason I was born and for this reason I came into this world: to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.  Pilate said: What is truth?


Intro: Pilate’s question is the question of human beings; it is the question of those who have lies as their native language…after Satan.  Not simply those we regard as evil, but also those we regard as moral and upstanding people, people who try their best.


What is truth?  Pilate asks Jesus this question.  But he is not looking for an answer.  He doesn’t want to know.  He is speaking to the Truth.  When we ask this question, we are also addressing Jesus.  Whoever asks this question questions Jesus.  It is the question of the flesh that wants to excuse disobedience to God.  “Did God really say?”


This question is raised in the Church all the time.  We want to be free to have our own interpretations of Scripture and to say that Scripture is not clear about this matter and that.


“there is no one righteous, not even one…they all have turned aside, their lips speak lies, the poison of asps is under their lips…” says Paul in Romans.  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in their wickedness.”


Do you see how everyone seems to understand that Jesus really is the King of the Jews?  Pilate does but seeks to put the blame for killing Jesus on the Jews.  The priests are not questioning so much whether Jesus is the Messiah but whether they will be able to keep their position, land, temple.


We know.  The world knows…there is a God who made us, but we have preferred our own ways.


We do not want to come into the light, into the truth, says Jesus “because our deeds are evil and we do not want them to be exposed.”  But Jesus calls: “If you keep my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”


Jesus witnesses to the truth  about (1) and (2)


  1. 1.       About us in sin and death.
    1. The ugliness of sin
    2. The awful darkness of death that we try to hide from.  If Christ is not raised….
      1.                                                               i.      The reason for the disciples despair and ours in the face of death
    3. Our bondage:
      1.                                                               i.      I did my best!
      2.                                                             ii.      Peter’s best—denial.  Joseph of Arimathea’s best.
      3.                                                           iii.      Paul’s best—persecuting the church.
      4.                                                            iv.      Our best puts Christ to death.
  2. 2.       Of life and salvation for us in Christ.
    1.  I am He—
      1.                                                               i.      The Lord, YHWH, is who allows Himself to be arrested and condemned for us.
      2.                                                             ii.      I am—from Whom all that exists and is real comes…and in my suffering I bear your lies and your disintegration and death.
    2.  Behold the man
      1.                                                               i.      Behold the new Adam
      2.                                                             ii.      Adam sinned, and we sinned in him, but God covered Adam’s shame, and did not give him death or judgment but mercy
      3.                                                           iii.      Jesus, the sinless second Adam, is exposed to the crowd, to shame, to hatred, suffering, cries for his condemnation…he is the substitute for Adam and his children
      4.                                                            iv.      And makes us “a new creation”, as the Epistle said.  The old has gone, the new has come.
    3. He has to die because he made himself the son of God
      1.                                                               i.      Jesus is the true Son of God.  That is the crime for which He dies.
      2.                                                             ii.      He dies for the truth saying that He is God’s Son.
      3.                                                           iii.      Ever since Cain fallen people have presumed to be sons of God by their own effort…
      4.                                                            iv.      This false holiness is murderous…because when we believe we are righteous then we are right to judge.
      5.                                                              v.      The True Son of God is the opposite—He is judged and sacrificed for those who sin against Him.
    4. This is Jesus, the King of the Jews
      1.                                                               i.      The holy people called to be God’s own reject their king and kill Him lest He strip them of their confidence in their status as Jews.
      2.                                                             ii.      But this is what it always meant to be the King of the Jews—
      3.                                                           iii.      It meant to be the one who saves, who crushes the serpent’s head and whose heel is bruised.
      4.                                                            iv.      “Did not the Christ have to suffer and then enter His glory?”  So says all of the Law and the Prophets.
      5.                                                              v.      The King of the Jews was always going to be the one whose face was marred beyond human semblance, who was going to be despised and rejected as one stricken by God, one who would not be esteemed or pleasing to His own people (or to the Gentiles, for the most part)—because His suffering and weakness is not attractive or beautiful to the flesh.
      6.                                                            vi.      The King of the Jews was always going to be the one whom “it pleased God to crush” and to put to grief; he was always going to be the one whose soul was made an offering for sin in order to justify many
    5. The glory of righteousness and truth
      1.                                                               i.      He was despised and rejected
      2.                                                             ii.      The world rewards liars and the wicked, so those who are true get cross and cast out.
    6.  The true way sin and death and God’s wrath is taken away—Jesus’ suffering, alone
    7. The truth of our salvation’s completion.  It is finished



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