Good Friday (morning) 2020
Why does God allow this? Why does God ordain these sufferings and bring them to pass? In order that you be comforted by them. Christ does not suffer for His own sake. He suffers for your sake, that you be forgiven and given eternal life.
For that reason, these events are so full of contradiction. Jesus is the Son of God, entirely holy and without sin, and therefore He should have no part in death nor the curse of sin. Oppositely, you are a sinner and should be under God’s curse and wrath, and therefore you should bear death and condemnation. But herein you see the great love of God. Without any merit or worthiness in you, Christ dies for you. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.” But you are neither righteous nor good. For you, no one should die. But Christ takes the Father’s cup of wrath. He endures it, and by His death, by the shedding of His Blood you are justified, you are saved from wrath because Christ has taken it all.
So God reverses it. He who has no sin, in who there is nothing but grace, must be made the curse and bear the punishment, and you who are nothing but sin are now in a state of grace, and are the dear child of God. Therefore hold fast to this comfort, for all the sin that was yours Christ took upon Himself, and all the innocence that is His He has given to you. For if, when you were an enemy of God because of your sin Christ died for you, how much more blessing will He give you now that you are reconciled to Him by Christ’s Blood? For your gracious Lord and Redeemer has suffered for you and has paid the debt you owe.
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Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.