Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | April 10, 2009

Blessed Good Friday!

Why is today different from every other?  Today is the day when the Author of Life offered His life for the world.  Today is God’s Friday, a day we call good, because the cross, the ultimate sign of our sins, is also the divine sign of victory.

It was the prophet Isaiah who gave us the clearest, plainest prophecy of Good Friday in Isaiah 52:13-53:12.  And it was the evangelist John who gave us the appointed text for this day, John 19.  I encourage you to read these for yourself today.

May the Lord bless your contemplation of His cross and your salvation.  For further meditation, here are provided the words of the Lenten hymn, “O Dearest Jesus”:

1.  O dearest Jesus, what law have You broken, that such sharp sentence should on You be spoken?  Of what great crime have You to make confession — what dark transgression?

2.  They crown Your head with thorns, they smite, they scourge You; with cruel mockings to the cross they urge You; they give You gall to drink, they still decry You; they crucify You.

3.  Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?  It is my sins for which You, Lord, must languish; yes, all the wrath, the woe that You inherit, this I do merit.

4. What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!  The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander; the Master pays the debt His servants owe Him, who would not know Him!

5.  The sinless Son of God must die in sadness; the sinful child of man may live in gladness; we forfeited our lives, yet are acquitted — God is committed!

6.  I’ll think upon Your mercy without ceasing, that earth’s vain joys to me no more be pleasing; to do Your will shall be my sole endeavor henceforth forever.

7.  And when, dear Lord, before Your throne in heaven to me the crown of joy at last is given, where sweetest hymns your saints forever raise you, I too shall praise you.

Text:  Johann Heermann (1585-1647); stanzas 1-4, 6-7 translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878); stanza 5 translated in The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis, 1941.

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