ISAIAH 52:13—53:12

HEBREWS 10:16–25

GOSPEL: JOHN 19:17-30

HOMILY                                                                                Pastor Chris Halverson

On the Cross

Take a moment and look at the cross. (Pause)
Take a look at those envelopes on it.
Inside of each one a petition,
or prayer,
or sin,
or need,
or just something we want Jesus to work on with us. (Pause)
At this time, I offer everyone one final chance to put something up on the cross, then we’ll continue with this homily.

If you remember back a few weeks to two children’s sermons I preached, you’ll get a feel for the content of those envelopes on the cross.
When we read of the Samaritan Woman at the well… when we read of her struggles, and the living water she received from Jesus
—that she’d had 7 husbands and the man she was currently with was not her husband,
I wrote “Abandoned 7 times” and nailed it up on the cross.
Jesus took that pain and suffering,
took it on,
and transformed it,
transformed her into an Evangelist, preaching the good news to her people.
When we read of the Blind man healed on the Sabbath
…when we read that convoluted story of people not recognizing him, and badgering him about his sight, once his condition was gone
… how they drove him out, because they could handle him as a blind beggar, but couldn’t handle him as a man who sees, and who told them what he saw, who he saw—that he saw Jesus Christ
… when we read all of that,
I wrote, “No one really sees me,” and nailed it up on the cross.
Jesus took that pain and isolation and transformed it,
Jesus gave the nameless a name and went out of the city walls with that man, was with him in abandonment
—God drove out from the city walls,
out here with us.

And those are just two—
two situations written down and nailed to the cross.
Two situations in which Jesus shows up in the midst of disaster. Two things nailed to that cross with Jesus.
Two among many.

And on this Good Friday we remember that Jesus is here for us,
in the midst of us,
in our sin
for our sake…
That he follows us into death itself,
that we might live.
That upon that cross is not only these petitions and prayers and sins and needs, but also our Savior himself.
That he went to the place of the Skull.
That his clothing were divided in a dice game as he died.
That his family and his friends watched on at his execution.
That he thirsted and that he died.
That he was abandoned by everyone, for our sake.
That he was driven out beyond the walls of Jerusalem, for our sake.

This is what we remember tonight. God for us, even when being for us, means death.
Jesus Christ, God’s own Son
–Jesus Christ, God with us
crucified on that cross.

And yet, there is one more thing nailed to that cross—the words “The King of the Jews” written in the most popular languages of the time.
A small sign of hope, tacked to that cross with our Savior, and with our petitions, sins, and stuff.
A small sign pointing us forward, to tomorrow. Amen.

HYMN OF THE DAY                     “Were You There”                     red book # 353