Kruiz edited
Tree of Life
Friday in Lent 1
10 March 2017
The act of crucifixion itself does not save, but the One who was crucified does. We worship not crucifixion, but the crucified One. Not just anyone could have been crucified to redeem us from our sins. Not even the greatest man could lead us out of death to life; no patriarch or apostle could bear the sins of the world (Ps 49:7-9). No mere man can defeat death, because every one is subject to death. The exceptions of the Old Testament merely confirm that only God can defeat death. He defeats death by sending His Son to die.
                                                       
Scripture consistently portrays the God-Man as the One who died by crucifixion at the hands of Gentiles. The One who dies must be God because only God is able to provide a ransom sufficient for all the sin of the world. His overflowing power supercharges His death with benefit for all persons. This Christ, the Son of God, dies even for those who will never believe in Him, denying the One who bought them (2Pe 2:1). God's full power comes under the sway of His compassion in Christ.
 
God's Son is also the Son of man. He takes our place by bearing our flesh to the cross, where what was due us was given to Him. His flesh was hung upon the accursed tree as the snake was lifted up in the desert that the God-Man might die. What is impossible for God; death, is done to Christ. Christ does what is impossible for man; that He should provide a ransom for the world. The crucifixion is the object of our faith only as far as it conveys to us the salvation of Christ which He wins enthroned there. Only Christ the God-Man's life-giving blood can water the lifeless tree of the cross to make it the tree of life.  All this is taught so clearly by the incarnation; it tells us who it is that dies for us. No mere man. And since One who is no mere man dies on the cross it makes the cross the tree of life.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"John pictures Christ as God and man throughout his Gospel. But here (Jn 3:14) he states, with particular reference to His humanity, that the Son of man must be lifted up. That is, He must be hanged on the wood, on the cross, and suffer and die, which pertains to the human nature. On the other hand, it lies beyond humanity that a crucified man should impart eternal life and that anyone who looks at the crucified Christ should have eternal life. But no one was lifted up and nailed to the cross except Mary's Son, who is a man with power to save all believers, since He is also the Son of God. Thus we heard before: 'No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven' (Jn 3:13). And this pertains solely to the divine majesty.
 
"The statement: 'The Word became flesh' (Jn 1:14) suffuses John's entire Gospel. All he ever preaches is that Christ, the very and eternal Son of God, is also true man, born of the Virgin Mary. And he unites wonderfully the two natures in the one person of Christ. Although it is not the work of the Son of man to save, to deliver from death, and to confer eternal life, a work that is not appropriate to man at all but to God alone, John declares that the Son of man was lifted up that all who believe in Him might have eternal life. Thus, he does not separate the two natures here. He does not say: 'Whoever believes in the Son of God has eternal life'; but 'Whoever believes in the Son of man.' The two natures are united in the single person of Christ, and this person is both God and man.
 
"The two natures, deity and humanity, are found in one person; and the attributes of each nature are imputed to the other, so that whoever believes in the Son of man believes not only in a human being but also in God. Otherwise the man Christ could not save anyone. If salvation depended on great men, we could point to the holy patriarchs and prophets, such as Isaiah, Elijah, David; or to the angels, such as Gabriel and others. For all their greatness, they cannot deliver anyone from sin and death. Nor do the words recorded here apply to them: 'Whoever believes in Him has eternal life.' It is impossible for a human being to have the honor of bestowing eternal life on one who believes in him. But of this person, Christ, it is said that He can save. For the two natures are so united in His one person and essence that he who believes in the Son of man also believes in the Son of God. Whoever comes in touch with the man Christ also comes in touch with the Son of God. In fact, the whole Trinity is found in this man."

Martin Luther, Sermons on John's Gospel, 3.14
Psalm 66:1-12

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name."
 
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations - let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
(ESV)
Prayer
O Lord God, You sent Your Son to be born for us and bear our flesh. Grant that we might so believe that we might receive the power of His indestructible life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
 
For Maren Tejeda as she undergoes surgery, that she would be kept safe
 
For Rev. Dr. Herbert Mueller, Jr., that he would be kept safe in his travels and that his mouth would be filled with the Word of God
 
For all who grieve the loss Miriam Vidal, who was called from this vale of tears to eternal life, that they would be comforted by the forgiveness of sins and the glorious resurrection to come
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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