Home > Holy Week > Good Friday–Chief Service 2014. “Sons of the Father.” John 19:5-6.

Good Friday–Chief Service 2014. “Sons of the Father.” John 19:5-6.

raising the crossGood Friday—Chief Service + St. Peter Lutheran Church, Joliet + St. John 19:5-6 + April 18, 2014

(originally handwritten)


“Sons of the Father”




Pilate stood on the platform and yelled to the crowd, “I find no guilt in Him,” motioning to the man standing silent in chains.


“But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at Pesach.”  Pesach  is Passover, the Jewish holy day where they remembered how God had set them free from slavery in Egypt.  God had visited all the houses in Egypt and taken the firstborn of each family and each animal.  But when He came to the Israelite houses, He passed over them.  Because on each door they had taken a bunch of hyssop plants, dipped them in the blood of the lamb which they had slain and which they were eating inside their homes.  And they had struck the bloody bunch of herbs on the doorposts of their houses so that they dripped the spattered blood.


And when the Lord visited the homes in Egypt to kill the firstborn, He passed over the houses which were marked with the blood of the young lamb that had been slain and now was being eaten indoors.


So the Jews had a custom that their Roman overlords should free one prisoner at Passover.


Pilate shouted, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” gesturing with His arm to the silent man with him on the platform.


Immediately the crowd erupted into a roar.  “No!  Not this man!  Barabbas!  Give us Barabbas!”


Barabbas was, depending on who you talked to, a freedom fighter—or a highwayman.  Judea was filled with men like this.  They might be rebels against the Roman occupation, or they might be gangsters.  Or both.  You could never be totally sure.


What was known is that Barabbas had blood on his hands.  He was in prison because he had murdered someone during a riot or revolt.  His name in English means, “Son of the Father.”


So the crowd shouts, “Don’t give us the King of the Jews!  Give us the Son of the Father!”


The son of which father?


The son of the father of the Jews.  And our father too.  Adam—the first man, who like Barabbas was a rebel; Adam rebelled against God, even if he did it because he didn’t want to lose his wife.


Adam’s firstborn son was a murderer who killed his brother because God approved of his brother and not him.


The crowds wanted the son of the father, a rebel and a murderer.   They were brothers of Barabbas, sons of a rebel father who begat a murderer.


So Pilate had Jesus whipped.


The Jews had a law that a person guilty of a crime could not be given more than forty lashes.  This was to prevent inhumanity—to preserve the dignity of the person so that they wouldn’t be beaten to death or hideously disfigured.


The Romans had no such law.  [Describe punishment, mockery]


Pilate shouted again, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you to show that I find no guilt in Him.”


“Behold, the man!”  Jesus appeared slick with blood, a purple robe stuck to His wounds, blood dripping from His thorny crown like sweat.


“Behold the man” sounds so formal.  What Pilate was saying was more like, “Look at the man.  Isn’t it enough?”


“Crucify, crucify!”


No, it’s not enough.


It’s not enough because He claims to be God.  And if He really is God, we go to hell unless we follow Him.


But we can’t follow Him.


Because if we follow Him, say the priests, the Romans will come and take away our land and our temple.


Because if this crowd tells Caesar there was a riot, says Pilate, because I wouldn’t crucify a man who claimed to be king, Caesar will strip me of my title and maybe my life.


Because we are never going to get earthly rewards following Jesus, say the disciples, only death.


Because we will never get free of Roman rule if Jesus is our king, says the crowd.  He will just tell us to be patient and wait for God to give us the Kingdom.


So Jesus has to die so that they can live.


So Jesus has to die so that we can live.


Because if I trust Christ alone for salvation and my earthly welfare

I might never find love.  Who will love someone who is chaste until marriage?  How will I find love if Jesus says I can’t love the person I want at the time that seems right?


I won’t have any friends.  What friends do Christian kids have in high school or middle school, unless they pretend not to know Jesus (at least sometimes)?


I won’t be able to pay my bills and provide for my children.  How can I afford to take time to listen to God’s Word or to tear my kids away from the activities that will save them from drugs and bad influences?


The church will close.  No churches keep their doors open by uncompromisingly preaching Christ’s word, by not catering to the people who give the most.


My life will be ruined because Jesus will prevent me from doing the things that make me happy.


The church will throw me out for preaching what Christ says instead of what is in keeping with the times we live in now.


So, I have to take a vacation from following Christ.  At least here and there.  I have to get out from under the cross.  I have to rebel.  I have to sin.


And Jesus has to die.


And I can’t let His claims on me be heard.  They have to be silenced.


And yet an unthinkable thing happens.


The unspeakable evil of killing God’s Son.  You would think this would be the unforgivable sin.  But God makes this evil deed salvation.


The priests mock and crucify their king.  But in the lashes that fall on Jesus our rebellion against God is punished and put away.


In His nails our shame is hung up to die in pain and shame.


In His death the contents of His heart empty onto the ground, and the contents of our hearts are covered, forgiven, and cancelled.


God turns Peter’s denial into salvation.  The one who denied confesses Jesus, proclaims Him as the Savior of deniers and sinners, and sinners and deniers believe in this Jesus who was crucified for those who were ashamed of Him.  And they are saved through the preaching of the one who denied.


So with our sins.  Pride, anger, hatred, stealing, slander, impurity, blasphemy, covetousness—which one is yours?  Which one do you wake up to when the rooster crows?


They are calls for the death of Christ.


He answered them.  He accepted them.


God turns them into shouts for salvation.


His wounds inflicted by us become open doors to heaven.


And our sins and weaknesses, dipped in the blood of Christ and hidden in His wounds, come out good works.


The proud man says, For my pride Jesus was crowned with thorns.


For my murdering Jesus was executed.


So you are guilty.  Have you failed your children, injured your spouse?  Driven people away from Christ?  Wounded the Church?


You have done worse.  You have killed the Son of God.


But in being a murderer of God’s Son is our salvation, because God has made His Son’s suffering and death our ransom.


God made your sin His punishment, and in His punishment and death made you perfect.  Not guilty.


Don’t be afraid of confessing to real sin—grave sin.  You are a grave sinner; your sins have closed the grave over your head.


It is those sins—grave sins, mortal sins—that Christ bore on the cross, and He, seeing that all was now complete, received the drink of sour wine and said, “It is finished.”


Now He gives you the sweet wine with His blood.  It purifies us with hyssop—not the hyssop branch we extended to Him with only bitterness to drink as He died.  He extends His hyssop branch to us and gives us to drink of His blood which is sweet with salvation, which purifies us.  Everything is new.  The old has gone.  The new has come.



Soli Deo Gloria

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