O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
You shall not misuse the Name of the LORD your God
You shall not misuse the Name of the LORD your God
Based on Luke 23:46
Preached on March 30, 2018
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Text: Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. You shall not misuse the Name of the LORD your God.
Jesus: bitterly betrayed. Judas and we use our mouth to cut that dastardly deal for some cash! Jesus: disappointingly denied. Peter and we use our mouth to curse and swear in order to lie! “I swear to God I don’t know this Jesus! I’ll be damned if I’m one of His followers!” Jesus: appallingly abandoned. By the rest of His disciples and all the rest of us! “Let’s high tail it out of here! We could be arrested too! We can’t be seen with Him anymore! It’s just too risky!” With friends like that - who needs enemies?
Well, they show up too! In spades! Hurling insults! Mocking! Sneering! “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” All these are huge satanic temptations! “Think about yourself for a change Jesus! Good grief! Go ahead! Hop off the cross! You don’t deserve this! You don’t need to suffer like this! Show these people that you really are the Christ! That you truly are who you say you are! Save yourself!”
His enemies desperately looked for a way to lay their hands on Him! Jesus predicted that He would be given over / betrayed / handed over to the “hands” of sinful men! Well, their hands, our hands, all get what we want! Judas’ treason! Hands over Jesus to His enemies! He is given into the hands of sinful men! Our hands. Clenched. Tightened. Opened. Shook. Too many to count! With their hands, with our hands, we all slap, beat, pummel, flog, pierce and pin Him with hammer and spikes! Boom. Boom. Boom.
In the very midst of His enemies, the evil powers of death, Satan, and sin and horrific suffering – in the midst of bearing the sin of the world – facing death -- suffering its damnation – (and this is the finale of Luke’s passion narrative) -- Jesus places HIMSELF … into His FATHER’S HANDS! “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Incredible trust! Faith!
He Prays! Calls upon not just some generic god – but to God the Father – His Father and our Father! Calls upon Him by Name! In every trouble! He was always going off and praying to His Father during His life. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” When everything heats up and He’s in the garden he prays: “Father, if you are willing take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” As He hangs on the cross between two terrorists He prays: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Now, Holy One Jesus, in the midst of utter agony and the most immense trouble – facing death and damnation as THE SINNER by bearing all sin for the sake of all sinners – He prays to His Father at the placed named Skull! “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
That’s a Psalm by the way. Psalm 31:5. Jesus probably prayed the entire psalm of which we are only given a snippet.
This may have been the very first prayer Jesus learned as a boy. Taught to Him by Mary. It was the “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Prayer” of all Hebrew families. The prayer that flows from faith! Prayer that relies on God the Father for all help! For everything! Even at the moment of death!
Jesus dies with prayer on His lips: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Even then He uses God’s name properly. He looks to His Father for all help in every need. For all consolation! For all deliverance!
After all Jesus learned another prayer from the Psalter: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me,” (Psalm 50:15)! From such a promise Jesus lives! And dies! His unwavering trust in His Father does not end when He dies – but continues on into His death for sinners. For you! And for your salvation – that by His bitter suffering and death, and by His faithful use of God’s Name, you are completely forgiven of the lies, the denials, the betrayals that have come from your mouth. Forgiven. Cleansed. Not washed out with soap. But with the precious blood of Christ that begs the Father to forgive you, deliver you, receive your spirit in His holy hands.
His death for you has born fruit in your life – may it bear more! For you are baptized into His death – the only death that counts against all your sin, death, and hell! Faith in Jesus leads to the proper use of your mouth: calling upon the Father in every trouble -- praise and thanksgiving. And that’s every day! Every morning and evening. In the evening, right before you go to bed, which is a rehearsal for when you lie down to die, you too pray like Jesus. You pray the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep prayer of Psalm 31:5: “into your hands, Father, I commend myself, my body and soul and all things” in the sure and certain hope that because of Jesus, death doesn’t have the final word. Jesus does! He defeated death! He rose from the grave. And He will raise your body on the Last Day.
But more on that this Sunday! Until then, have a blessed Good Friday. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr