Preached on 3 April 2015 at St. Luke’s Memorial Church, Tacoma, Washington
Good Friday, Year B
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. But what kind of King is he?
All through Lent we have looked at the Covenants of the Old Testament. Covenants that God has given to the People of God – the Hebrews, the Israelites – to draw them into relationship.
This week, we have walked with Christ through the final days and hours of his life on earth.
Now, we arrive at the Cross. The cross that we cannot truly avoid on our way to Sunday; on our way to Resurrection. There can be no resurrection without death.
What does the Cross reveal about God? About Covenant?
John’s account of the Passion shows Jesus in charge:
- He steps forward in the garden when the soldiers arrive.
- He directs the interaction with the priests and then with Pilate. He does not try to persuade a different course.
- He carries his own cross – no mention of falling.
- He arranges for the care of his mother from the cross, telling the beloved disciple that he is now her son and she is his mother – he will be responsible for her now.
- He asks for a drink – he’s not passive.
- He actively gives up his spirit in death.
- We see a king who is willing to die rather than abandon his people.
In the Cross, I see the God’s deep desire to draw us to God’s self, to be in relationship with us. So deep that God is willing to limit God’s own divinity to become human, to suffer and die at the hands of the humans God created.
The Cross reveals the depth of God’s forgiveness. If God can forgive the Crucifixion, there is nothing beyond God’s forgiveness. No sin or accumulation of sins is more powerful than the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let me say that again.
What does the Cross reveal to you? About God? About Covenant? About yourself?
How are you saved by Jesus? How do you experience salvation; what are you saved from? What are you saved for?
Salvation doesn’t have to be through the Cross. It could be some aspect of his life – his teaching or his healing miracles. It could be his resurrection or the incarnation itself; that God became human.
Salvation cannot be reduced to a simple explanation or a formulaic “Because this, then that and only that.” It is complicated and at the same time simple.
Salvation is global and personal; corporate and individual.
Jesus saves the world and Jesus saves you.
Salvation is real.
Salvation is Yours.