Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | April 22, 2011

Sermon on Hebrews 7:23-28

A Lord’s Prayer Kind of Day

  • Order of Service: Tenebrae
  • Lessons:  John 19:17-30, Psalm 2, Psalm 22, Psalm 31, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Lamentations (selected verses), Hebrews 7:23-28, Psalm 51
  • Hymns (Christian Worship): 127, 105, 434

In the Name of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Good Friday is a Lord’s Prayer kind of day for Jesus.  It’s the kind of day where He cast everything aside and clung to the only thing He had left, “Father….”

It began the day before, when He found Himself with His face to the ground in Gethsemane, and said, Yet not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39).  And then handed Himself over to the betrayer and his host, to Caiaphas and his kangaroo court, to Pilate and Roman justice.

It continued on the cross when He forgave those who trespassed against Him, pleading, Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).  But when the full weight of your guilt and sin, the full weight of your betrayal, the full weight of your well-earned hell hit Him, He returned to an agonized plea to the Father, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me (Matthew 26:46)?

Then it ended as the Our Father ends – Deliver us from evil – for the Son was delivered.  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30).  More than that, the entire experience had come full circle, for once more Christ casts everything aside and clings only to His Father and says, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Good Friday is a Lord’s Prayer kind of day for you too.  It’s the kind of day where you cast everything aside and simply say, “Our Father….”  It’s the kind of day where you look up to heaven and pray that your Father is there.  It’s the kind of day that leaves you shell-shocked, for you’re forced to look at the cross and see Christ.  You’re forced to see the Word made flesh in all the horrors that come with that flesh package – wounded, bleeding, dying.  Mocked, tortured, ridiculed.  As weak as weak can be.  Become sin, your sin.  Not your will, most certainly, but the Father’s will, as Isaiah said, It was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer (Isaiah 53:10).

And so you pray all the more fervently, “Father!  Your will be done!  Forgive me!  Deliver me!”  And the Father answers. “Look at the cross.  There’s my will.  There’s your forgiveness.  You are delivered.”

Here was the Father’s will:  to send a finally perfect priest.  The Spirit speaks in Hebrews:  Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood (Hebrews 7:23-24).  The Father’s will was to send a priest who could finally do the job.  Not one of those sinful priests like Aaron, Zadok, Abiathar, or Zechariah, who had to sacrifice for their sins first, but a perfect priest, a clean priest, a holy priest.  Hebrews again: Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people….  For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever (Hebrews 7:26-28).

This is the Father’s sworn:  “I will do this!”  What?  You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizadek (Psalm 110:4), David prophesied.  A priest, an offerer of sacrifices, a talker to God.  In the order of Melchizadek, not from the tribe of Levi, with mysterious origins, born mysteriously – of a virgin – without beginning, without end.  This is Christ.  An offerer of a sacrifice:  He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself (Hebrews 7:27b).  And not just any sacrifice, but Himself.  The priest sacrifices Himself.  Because He, Jesus, is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.  Yet He who is all those things did not cling to those things.  Instead He clung to you.  He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).  And now those Petitions aren’t empty phrases or pious wishes, but prayer based on a fact:  He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.  Insert yourself, as John did, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2).

God’s will was to forgive sins in Christ, that is, God’s will is to deliver you from evil.  Hebrews one last time:  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens (Hebrews 7:25-26).

Because Jesus lives forever and has this permanent priesthood He can always continue to do His saving work – forgiving sins, delivering from evil, interceding.  Because Jesus lives forever – dead now, but you know what comes next – those who come to God through Him, those He is able to save.  But only those who come to God through Him He saves.  But those He saves completely!  Because He bore your sin on the cross.

Yes, Good Friday is a Lord’s Prayer kind of day.  The best prayer, for the best day.  Old Testament priests came and went, just as do presidents and pastors.  They came, they offered, they died.  The end.  Christ came.  Christ offered.  He died.  Not the end.  Paul:  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:9-11).  Amen.

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