Kruiz edited
Done To or Done For
Thursday of Lent 2
1 March 2018
Some King He is! Jesus parades into Jerusalem getting everyone all excited and then does nothing. Worse yet, He is only done to. He warns that He would be betrayed into the hands of sinners and that He would suffer and die at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees (Mk 8:27-38). This is worse than doing nothing. This is being done to (Jn 12:16).
In our sinful desire to have God "do something," we fail to see that the cross itself is the manifestation of the glory of the King. His being done to, is His greatest doing. For He has veiled His divinity under the flesh of weakness, so that His works and doing were veiled in the weakness of suffering. These works were especially the casting down of the devil, victory over the world, destruction of hell, the gaining of heaven, the sanctification of the church, and the killing of the flesh, which are all utterly divine works (Jn 3:21). Who would believe that the cross and suffering would achieve such remarkable results?
Often, especially young people who, in their simplicity, are unacquainted with the depth of depravity wonder how the devil was tricked into taking the deadly bait at the cross. They ask in catechism class, "Pastor, how could the devil have been so stupid?" They think it impossible that He should be trapped like this. But like many skilled liars the devil had begun to believe His own lies. And when the Messiah hid His glory, the enemy thought now he had victory within his grasp. "He's doing nothing. He's being done to. Now, He is done for." And in his horrific pride he snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory, devoured  in his own trap, which snapped shut upon the kingdom of death and Satan. In so doing our victory was snatched out of the jaws of defeat by the King who is done to.
The struggle is and remains that we can only see the fullness of God's glory when we approach the cross. God gives Himself most clearly, most powerfully, and most decisively when that Man is nailed there and bleeds and dies for sinners; when He lets Himself be done to. He gives himself most clearly when He cries out "Father, forgive them." He gives himself most clearly when He, with all the majesty of a true King, dies in the place of His people. There is no picture of the King we would rather see, for there is no other King. On Good Friday, the body of Christ on the crosses in Christian churches is veiled, not because we should not look upon the poor victim who takes away the sin of the world, but because His glory in that enthronement on the cross is too brilliant to see. In that weakness we are seeing God as He is, who humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:8). That's some King! He's our King precisely because he was done to, that we might not be done for.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

  Martin Luther
"The Messiah, David's and God's Son, of whom such glorious things have been written, is to permit Himself to be tortured and killed by His enemies. This is the word concerning the cross, of which St. Paul says that it will cause such a great offense to this people that the majority of them will stumble and perish and scarcely a handful of them will come to the Christian faith (1Co 1:23). The Jews cannot harmonize the two ideas; that Christ should be the King of Kings and that He should also suffer and be executed. That disturbs human reason; it cannot take to the thought that such a powerful King, who is to kill and smash all kings, is Himself to be killed by them. They say in effect: 'What are we to do with a King like this, who begins His kingdom by being the first one to endure shameful torture and death, like a thief and a murderer?'
"But this verse (Ps 110:7) clearly teaches us that this Messiah or Christ will not govern a physical or temporal kingdom after the manner of the world, but a spiritual kingdom, in which the King will rule forever, not through external might, the force of armies, sword, and weapons; but through an invisible, divine power. He will come down to earth and live among men as a wanderer, guest, and pilgrim like any other man. His life will be called a journey or pilgrimage, as Scripture also calls the common, everyday activity of men on earth (Gn 47:9). As St. Paul writes to the Philippians, His appearance and conduct before the world, as discerned by fleshly eyes, was like that of any other man (Phil 2:7). He did not display the appearance and pageantry of a secular king. The very opposite took place: He appeared as nothing else but a poor, suffering, despised, yes, as a damned human being. This is what is to happen to Him on His path to His kingdom, which He Himself calls 'going to the Father' (Jn 16:28). The meaning is that through death He departed from this world and went from this life into the next, where He seated Himself at the right hand of the Father in His eternal kingdom." 

Martin Luther, Commentary on Psalm 110, 7
Philippians 2:5-11

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ chose to suffer pain as he went up to joy, and by crucifixion to enter into His glory, mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, would find this path to be the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For those who follow the Lord Jesus, that they might be led to repentance and into the new life given by Christ's death
For all pastors who lead God's people, that they might receive strength from God the Spirit to proclaim the crucified Christ
For all those struggling with the burdens of their sin, that they may be brought back to the grace given in holy baptism through contrition and repentance
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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