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Good Friday Noon Chief Service

by pastorjuhl ~ April 6th, 2009

This is not so much a sermon as it is a short reflection on the Passion of Jesus Christ.

As a human being, I am fascinated by the lengths people go to make him or her look presentable. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against good grooming techniques. But I marvel at the amount of money men and women spend to hide imperfections or accentuate the best parts of their bodies. A song lyric goes, “You can’t hide behind your makeup/You’ve got to let your perfection show.” Vanna White once pitched mattresses by taking away the glamorous outfits and fancy jewelry so she could show the world that she was plain, old Vanna underneath everything she wore.

There was no place to run or hide for Jesus Christ. He had to let His perfection show in what seemed to be an imperfect body. Jesus hangs on the cross as a spectacle for the whole world to see. To our eyes, He doesn’t look like anything special. Faith sees Jesus Christ crucified and believes that our salvation is right before our eyes.

Jesus doesn’t need a fancy crown, regal robes, numbers of servants, or a throne room. All Jesus needs to let His perfection show is two crossed beams of wood, a weaved halo of thorns, and a sign above His head proclaiming Who He is. Items that were meant to embarrass Jesus are items that confess why Jesus allowed Himself to be taken captive, tortured, and condemned.

Consider the crown of thorns. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is appropriate He wear a crown. The crown He wears confesses that He is the appropriate sacrifice for the sins of the world. The Lord provided Abraham with a ram caught in a thicket for a sacrifice in place of his only son Isaac. The ram in Genesis 22 foreshadows the Lamb of God, the Ram of God, Who allowed Him to be trapped in a thicket placed on His head by Roman soldiers. The Lord provided His only-begotten Son as the perfect sacrifice for sin to end all sacrifices for sin. The blood of bulls and goats won’t do anymore. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

The soldiers draped Jesus in a purple robe to mock Him as King of the Jews. His garments would later be taken off His body. Soldiers would cast lots for His clothing. Though He is shameless, He takes on our shame and guilt. Adam and Eve were ashamed of what they did in the Garden. They realized they were naked and tried to hide from God. What was once a shameless way to live now becomes a shameful mess. Yet in the midst of their shame and guilt and Adam’s lies about what happened, there is a promise. The serpent’s head would be crushed. The Seed of the woman’s heel would be bruised to take away the shame and guilt we have before God. The shameless and guiltless Son of God becomes shameful and guilty to take away our shame and guilt.

Jesus doesn’t need a golden throne stuffed with silk or velvet. He doesn’t need a room with attendants at His disposal. Jesus reigns on His throne when He hangs on the cross. Two robbers, one of whom reviled and blasphemed Him even as they were dying, attend him. The other robber chastised His fellow condemned man and asked Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. You and I should be hanging there instead of Jesus. Jesus takes our place instead and suffers without complaint. He remembers us when we come into His kingdom because God the Father forgets our sins when He sees us in Jesus.

The spectacle of the cross is more beautiful than any makeover, any change of hairstyle, or anything that resembles haute couture. In the height of imperfection, the perfect Son of God suffers and dies for the sins of the world. There is nothing glamorous about lying naked on a cross, bleeding and suffocating to death. Underneath the wounds, stripes, and agonizing cries is God’s will being done for us on earth as it is in heaven. God’s will for us is that we shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. No greater work can be done for us than Jesus Christ dying on the cross. The debt of sin is consummated today for you. Believe it for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

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