Searching for....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sermon 03142012 Wednesday of Lent 3

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, on the way to the cross Your body was scourged, our sins crushed You and Your body was pierced to fulfill scripture.  Yet, Your aim was the fulfillment of scripture and the plan of salvation being fulfilled through Your innocent death on the Cross.  Without Your sacrifice, our sins would still bind us, but You have set all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel free from the bonds of sin, death and the devil through Your death on Calvary for each and every one of us.  AMEN.

With the advent of television and with the advances in the theater where we enjoy cinematic masterpieces in vibrant color and surround sound, another industry has grown.  Using CGI and special effects one recent movie, sacrificed a character’s actual physique in order to show his transformation.  In the movie Captain America, when the main character, Steve Rogers is introduced, he is a ‘scrawny’ asthmatic kid that is all of 98lbs soaking wet.  After being transformed he is muscular, athletic and taller due to the effects of the medicine.  During the final scenes during World War II, Captain America models what sacrifice really means.  After overtaking “Hydra” and the airplane destined for the United States with weapons of mass destruction, the only way to protect and defend his homeland is to ditch the airplane in the cold arctic.  Thus as the epitome of the soldier he was created to be, Steve sacrifices himself in order to defend the land that he loves and protect the woman he has fallen in love with.

In tonight’s reading from Isaiah, we hear how in real life our suffering servant Jesus Christ sacrifices Himself and endures a painful journey from the hands of the Jews to the Cross on Calvary.  Our text reads:

5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

Unlike today, torture during Bible times defied our present definition and understanding of torture.  Jesus Christ was scourged.  Scourging would occur by tying a person to a stand and then taking a rod or cord of leather that might include sharp metal tips and lashing the person.  According to scripture, the legal number of ‘scourges’ that was not considered a death sentence was 39, 16 on the front and 23 on the back, but Jesus Christ endured one more, for a total of forty of these blows as part of His sentence on the way to being crucified on the cross.

Not only did Jesus endure the scourging, He was crushed for our sins.  In and through His suffering on the cross, Jesus Christ over His entire body suffered at the hands of the Romans and all of the bystanders who wanted to hit Him on His journey to the cross.  Remember the Roman cohort, blindfolded Him and hit Him and asked Him to prophesy who it was that was hitting Him.  The soldiers were legally allowed to take out their aggression and hatred for being away from their families on the Person Who was being crucified.  But what they did not realize and we only realize because of the prophets like Isaiah is that Jesus Christ endured this in order that our sins, our daily turning our face away from God would be borne by the innocent God made Man, Jesus Christ.  It was His suffering, being bruised and crushed for our sins that would give you and me eternal life.

And yet, it did not stop with Jesus body being scourged, or His appearance being marred, but even after Jesus had died on the cross, His very body and soul was pierced.  Since Jesus had already given up His Spirit with the words, “It is finished”, and died, the soldiers fulfilled scripture by not breaking a bone in His body.  They instead took a lance and pierced His side to insure Jesus Christ was dead.  And immediately, blood and water flowed from His side, symbolizing for us both of the Sacraments, Holy Baptism, which we celebrated tonight, and the Sacrament of the Altar, where we receive His Precious Body and Blood.  Thus, Jesus Christ was pierced for our transgressions.   Jesus Christ innocent Man Who was God died in order to set us free from our sins.
The message of salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ innocent death on the Cross for you and for me, frees us from our sins.  Jesus Christ Who was marred, despised and forsaken, bore our griefs and cares and was afflicted in order to quiet the Kings who asked the question, ‘Who has believed’?  Jesus Christ even endured scourging, bruising and ultimately being pierced after death in order to offer to all of us gathered here at Emmanuel tonight eternal life.  For Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him and His death on the Cross of Calvary for the entire world, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this evening.  AMEN.
//trial script