Good Friday: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ-Parts (though with different readers for parts than noted)
Behold, the Lamb of God.
Lambs had a very specific purpose for God’s people. They were there to shed their blood because it was the shedding of blood that was necessary. Sin brought forth death. Death must be paid, that means blood must be shed. Lambs were used for Israel, as we recalled last night, in providing safety as death passed over through its blood over the doorpost.
This is what our sin brings. Our Lord goes forth because of our separation from Him. We have rebelled. We doubt His goodness. We do not trust Him in giving all that we need in this body and life. We trust in our own ability rather than His gifts. We trust our own authority rather than that which our Lord has provided in fathers, mothers, government, and others. Unlike the Lamb who goes uncomplaining forth, we are like the people of Israel who constantly grumble and complain.
It doesn’t take that much to see ourselves throughout the passion narrative. Unsure of the Lord’s goodness for us, despite His Word which has told what He is doing for us in death and resurrection. Willing to betray Jesus if it is lucrative enough and provides what we want. Betraying Him by turning towards other things and leaving Him. Or denying Him, denying the bold confession when others confront us because we fear the consequences, we fear the world, we fear the opinions of our friends and neighbors, rather than have a fear, love, and trust in God. As the people praised Him this past Sunday, Palm Sunday, it took a mere five days for them to be persuaded and shift to shouts of crucify Him. That when things don’t go well we are quick to blame God.
We praise God when things go well but like most of the disciples we go into fear and hiding when the tough gets going. We even hide from church. We act as if we are not good enough to come when things and that we can come back when we get things turned around. That if we work at it we can get ourselves ready to come back to God.
Yet this is the exact opposite of what the Lord has done. This is the narrative that has flowed since Christmas. That God has come among us. That God has bent down and taken on the form of servant. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He doesn’t wait for us to get things turned around. He comes in the midst of our filth, in the midst of our sin, to redeem us, to pay the price we owe.
He is the sacrificial lamb who goes uncomplaining forth to bear our guilt and shame. The only one who could save Himself, leaves Himself to complete the act of dying for you upon a cross extended. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. From the cross He sheds His body and blood for you. From the cross He gives that which He says, forgiveness.
Behold the Lamb of God. Of our sin, of the grip of death He declares, it is finished. It is finished in perfection. No more sacrifice, for Christ the Passover Lamb is sacrificed. The Word made flesh and the proclamation of the cross is completion, completion that is restoration, new life with God. Reconciliation as we who have been separated from God in paradise are given the promised inheritance that we will be in paradise with Him in the resurrection.
The victory shouts of Palm Sunday, “Hosanna, save us now,” are now realized. The Virgin has conceived and borne a Son and called His name Jesus, for He saves His people from their sin. In redeeming us He proclaimed, “it is finished.” There is no need to hide in shame as Adam and Eve did in the garden, as God takes on your sin, your death, and fills the tomb with that which is Good, Himself, and soon will burst with joy. For He is not finished. Sin and death is finished. His work is complete. The price is paid in full, His body and blood is shed. Behold the Lamb of God. The cross before you is your life and salvation. Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. But more is to come, for the Lamb is slain and now begins to reign.