O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Living in the Wounds of Christ - Good Friday 2012
"Living in the Wounds of Christ - Good Friday 2012"
Based on Isaiah 53:1-6
Preached on Good Friday - April 6, 2012
Fellow baptized saints, we have just finished confessing that we are the ones who have prepared a cross for our Savior. We are the ones who have turned away from God. We are the ones who have gone astray. And yet He is the One who was punished. He is the One who died.
Your Lord was tortured with a cat of nine tails. A leather whip with nine leather straps mounted with jagged steel claws on the end. His body was mutilated by this barbaric scourging. Many people did not survive the 39 strokes. The punishment was so severe that it was normal to see the internal organs exposed.
After this, He was paraded through Jerusalem and taken up on hill just outside the city. There He laid His bleeding body on the rough wood of the cross as they stretched out his arms beyond what is comfortable. In this overextended position, they took a six inch metal stake and drove it through His hand, pinning Him to the wood. Then they repeated this process for His other hand.
When His hands were fastened, they bent His knees and brought His feet together. They nailed them into the cross and raised Him up for all to see. Hanging there from the nails and the wood, the weight of His body blocked His airway. In order to breathe He had to push up on His pierced feet long enough to get a little air in.
Why such horrible punishment? Why such awful wounds? The prophet Isaiah said, He was wounded for our transgressions. These wounds are your sins. When you look upon the wounds of Christ, you are seeing the seriousness of your sins. Your lack of fear and love for Him. Your lack of trust. Your failure to call upon Him. Holes. Bloody holes in His hands. The way you treat the study of His Word. The weight you give to what He says. Wounds. Bleeding wounds in His feet. Behold what you deserve for all that you have done. And behold it carried by another, carried by Christ.
For as awful as it is to see your sins resting on Him, the innocent Lamb of God, He wants them. He wants to be wounded for you. He came to carry them for you. To put them to death in His bloody wounds. He loves you too much to let you suffer for them, so He endured the scourging. He scorned the shame. He took your death and destroyed it with His own. Your sins are no longer yours, for they have been drowned in the bloody wounds of Christ.
And that is where we live. As Christians. As sinners. Our life is in His wounds. Our healing. His wounds are not just the payment for our sins, they are the place where we are restored and strengthened. Where we find life. As Isaiah said, by His stripes we are healed.
You may recall that when Jesus rose from the dead He told His disciple Thomas to put His finger in His wound. You might wonder, why hasn't that wound healed and closed up? Not because our Lord is unable to heal it, but because we have healed in its place. We are the healed part. The healed body of Christ. The healing that Christ would claim for Himself He gives to us that we may be part of His body. Not just as a manner of speaking, but in a mysterious sacramental and physical way. The Church is the body of Christ - we complete His glorified body - He has fashioned us to fit in His wounds. He is the bridegroom and the Church is His bride - and we have become one flesh. For real. Picture it. Christ took our sins into His body, so that He could put the healing from His wound into ours.
And that is exactly what happens in the Lord's Supper. He feeds us His true body and blood. He gives us the healing of His wounds, the body and the blood, that by it we might heal forever. Where His wounds should heal, we heal, because His body and blood are in us. He heals us into His own body in a real, sacramental way.
What holy wounds! What amazing grace! That freely and willingly Christ endures such pain for you and me. That by such horrible wounds Christ destroys our sin, and makes us one with Him, healed and alive forever. There was nothing more He could give. There is no greater love than what He has shown. Let us live then in the wounds of Christ, healed and loved forevermore.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr