Good Friday Sermon

[The following is Pr. Petersen’s sermon for Good Friday; “To subscribe [to the sermon list] send an e-mail to:”]

Outside the City of Peace a war rages. It is an epic battle and the hour of greatest evil. Everywhere we look it is wrong. Creation is fallen and is being abused by demons. Mary has the worst of all worlds. According to tradition, she is a virgin and a widow, doubly denied, and she must watch her only Son be mocked, tortured, and executed for crimes He did not commit. It is noon and the sun is blazing in the sky, but it gives no light.

Strangest of all, the innocent Man is rightly condemned. This is what His Father, who loves Him and is well-pleased with Him, wants. His Father, that just and jealous God of Abraham, is pleased to see Him become sin, to cut Him off from heaven, to hold back the angelic host. The Lamb’s limbs are stretched in cruel torture and pinned to the crossbeams of hate with vicious, tearing nails. His bones ached with guilt not His own. His soul suffered great agony. Then His heart ceased to pump and His side was split open and His life poured out upon the ground.

There, in the shadow of Mt. Zion, He who is Life, is dead. She who is highly favored of the Lord, that most blessed of all women, finds her heart pierced through and through. She knows suffering that no widow, no mother should ever know. Everything is wrong at the cross. Everything is broken. It is the mirror image of the original creation. Order is disintegrating. Virgins do not have children. Innocent men are not rightly condemned. God does not die.

As the Passover lambs were slaughtered in the Temple, chaos threatened to plunge all creation into disorder, into opposites, into perversions of what it once was. Repent, O man. This is your heritage. This is the cost of your rebellion, of your lust and greed and selfishness. And he who has ears, let him hear. I speak in parables. In this dying, death itself was consumed. Chaos was turned inside out. The Temple veil no longer hides the mercy seat of God. With water and blood, by His very life, Jesus Christ put the universe back into order once again. He made it good once more. The soul of Jesus Christ went to heaven. His dead Body was returned to broken-hearted Mary, to no-longer-afraid Nicodemus, to poor Joseph of Arimathea. It is finished. The sacrifice is complete.

Justice is satisfied. Hell’s fires are quenched. The serpent’s head lies crushed in the place of the skull and there is no one left to accuse you, to accuse anyone. Surely this Man is the Son of God. He was laid into the borrowed tomb that glorious day, a sleeping lion. Things at the cross are not what they seem to the failing wisdom of man.

For one restless Sabbath, Mary’s heart stayed broken that the hearts of many might be revealed. To all the world, to all the Law, what has happened on Golgotha looks evil. It was not just. It was a sounding defeat. It was the devil’s hour. That is all true on the surface, but we should never forget this stupid devil has no free will. He is God’s devil. The good and gracious will of Father is always done. Jesus sweated blood then drained the cup of wrath and there is no more. It is finished. Only faith, only hearts that have fallen on the Stone the builders rejected, only those who have been drowned and raised again to life, call this day Good Friday. For it is only faith given from above that remembers the Words of Jesus, of Job, of David, of Isaiah, of Moses, of Ezekiel and can see that the Lion sleeps only that He may rise.

And thus do we, by faith Divine, give thanks to God for the cross of Jesus Christ. We are not ashamed. We are not afraid. We are not sad. We rejoice in the death of Jesus, for in this way God has loved us to the very end. The cross is the foundation of our Life. It is the security and restoration of the entire universe. It is a fountain for those who thirst, bread for those who hunger, comfort for those who mourn, our one true hope and future. This is the Day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. This is the greatest day, the best day, the day of grace and sacrifice, of redemption and hope, of love and immortality.

Let your pierced heart be bound and healed. You know the rest of the story. The Lion of Judah is not dead. He sleeps. And that sleep has come to an end. Creation is restored. Jesus lives. He is no longer in the Joseph’s borrowed tomb. He is risen. He ascended to the Father for you and reigns at His Father’s side as a Man. He has opened heaven to all believers. You were worth it all to Him, worthy every thorn, every lash, every nail, and mocking He endured. You were worth it all. He loves you and is glad to forgive you, to welcome you back, to be your God. The earth is ripe now with Hallelujahs. They will not be suppressed much longer.

It is finished. The Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah is awake. Jesus lives and He is coming back. Until then, let us do as He has called us to do. Let us proclaim His death in the eating and drinking of His Body and Blood and pray all the more: Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly.

Rev. David H. Petersen
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Ft. Wayne, Indiana


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5 thoughts on “Good Friday Sermon

  1. Was wondering about Pr. Petersen use of the phrase “according to tradtion” I hear my history prof. use that phrase in class when refering to certain events in history. This phrase seems to denote an open-ended sort of idea that something could be true or not, it something could have happened or not. Your thoughts? great web site!

  2. You’d have to ask him to make sure, but usually “according to tradition” refers to something that has been believed widely in the Church for a long time, but there’s little or no Biblical evidence for it.

    Thanks for visiting.


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