Kruiz edited
This Is Our God
Good Friday
14 April 2017
The Bible continually portrays Jesus Christ as the Crucified One. That's his name: "Crucified." Now what God is willing that his Son should be called crucified. Isn't there some way we can nice this up, God? Can't we call him the Resurrected One instead? While I didn't spend all night searching for it, I couldn't find a biblical reference that called Jesus Christ "the Resurrected One." Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean to say that He's not raised. I just can't find the title or name, "the Resurrected One," attributed to Jesus in the Bible, as much as it is entirely appropriate on the lips of the faithful. However, I can find the name the Crucified One throughout Scripture.
 
Paul says that He is first born from the dead (Col 1:18) (Paul never uses the word "tomb" either). He is the first born from the dead that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of the Godhead is pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things whether on earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of his cross (Col 1:18-20). So notice that after Paul calls Him the one who was raised, who is the first born from the dead, and yet he still wants to get us down into the blood of the cross. It's not something to be forgotten or filed away for Good Friday to be hauled out and dusted off for the dire displays of Lent. Garrison Keillor says that for Lutherans every Sunday is Good Friday.
 
And you know what? In a way, Garrison Keillor is right, because we've got a God that pours out his blood on the cross. He's the Crucifixus, the crucified One. And sometimes we struggle with that because it shows us the man of sorrows. It shows us what happens when the tree is green. What will happen when it is dry (Lk 23:31)? The cross, the crucifixion can become a terrible preachment of sin, but that's not how Jesus wants us to look at him as crucified. He wants us to see that we have been sent there to the cross with Him, that we share in His death and that we do it through baptism. If we have been united with Him in a death like his, shall we not also be united with him in a resurrection like his (Rm 6:5)? Yes, of course.  A thousand times over. So talking about Christ as the crucified One is a word of triumph as well as of suffering. 

Are we ready to be shaped like the crucified One? Haven't we been baptized into his death? And therefore haven't we been shaped like him in his crucifixion? We are coming upon days of persecution. We do not seek persecution, but the devil is prowling about seeking whom he can devour. And only under the cross of Christ will we be kept safe. Oh yes, there will be suffering--as there is now in our lives. But it will be given sense and meaning because the One that is called the crucified One, the Crucifixus, has suffered for us. This is our God. We know who He is because He revealed Himself to us. This is our God: Christ, raised for us; Christ the One who has been crucified for us poor sinners. This is our God. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

John of Damascus
 
"Wherever the sign of the cross may be, there also Christ will be. It is not right for us to worship the material of which the image of the cross is composed, even though it is gold or precious stones. Everything, therefore, that is dedicated to God we worship, conferring the adoration on Him.
 
The tree of life which was planted by God in Paradise prefigured this precious cross (Gn 2:9). For since death was by a tree, it was fitting that life and resurrection should be bestowed by a tree. Jacob, when He worshiped the top of Joseph's staff, was the first to imagine the cross (Heb 11:21), and when he blessed his sons with crossed hands he made most clearly the sign of the cross. Likewise, also did Moses' rod, when it struck the sea in the figure of the cross and saved Israel, while it overwhelmed Pharaoh in the depths. Likewise also the hands stretched out crosswise and routing Amalek (Ex 17); and the bitter water made sweet by a tree (Ex 15:23-26), and the rock rent and pouring forth streams of water (Num 20), and the rod that meant for Aaron the dignity of the high priesthood (Ex 4), and the serpent lifted in triumph on a tree as though it were dead (Num 21:8-10), the tree bringing salvation to those who in faith saw their enemy dead, just as Christ was nailed to the tree in the flesh of sin which yet knew no sin (2Co 5:21). But may we, who keep this in reverence, obtain a part in Christ the crucified. Amen."

John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.11
John 19:16-30

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but rather, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."
 
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, "They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
 
So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
 
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (ESV)
Collect for Good Friday
Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.
 
For Ellen Brda, that she might continue to regain strength and health
 
For all those who seek the mercy of the crucified Lord in these days, that they would be strengthened in faith and assured of the forgiveness of sins
 
For all pastors and church leaders as they continue their Holy Week labors and look forward to celebrating the Feast of the Resurrection, that they might experience the joys of these days while bearing the burdens of preparation
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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