Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lent Mid-Week 5

Lent Mid-Week 5[1]

March 12, 2008

Text: Psalm 22:6-8:

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He
trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him for he delights in him!”
(ESV).

O Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, pure and holy, who on the cross didst suffer: In this Psalm You teach us through Your servant King David that You suffered all, even became a worm and not a man for us worms and for our salvation. You teach us of the scorn that you suffered for our sakes at the hands of those who beheld Your crucifixion; the derision heaped upon You by the Jewish leaders and Roman executioners and even those crucified with You. They were crucified justly, but You who have been tempted in every way as we are, are without sin. Indeed, it would be just if we, for whom You suffered and died, were to be nailed to crosses of our own and lifted up to be in torment, to suffer the worst physical torture and the utter rejection of God and finally die a pitiful death. But here You teach us that we do not have to suffer in this way. You have suffered for us. You have given Your honor into contempt for us, Your life into death for us, that we might live and receive glory from the Father. You did this so that we could be forgiven of all sin and set free from death and the devil. Here You teach us that we can trust You, and You alone, for deliverance in time of need. Here You teach us that, mystery of all mysteries, the Father delights in us as His own dear children. He delights in us because You, His beloved Son, have been baptized into us, into our sin and death and conquered them forever, and we have been baptized into You, into Your righteousness and life thus to live in You forever.

We give You thanks for this, Your great mercy. We thank You for all that You have given for us, including Your very Self. “Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus unto Thee” (LSB 420). Indeed, “Then, for all that wrought my pardon, For Thy sorrows deep and sore, For Thine anguish in the Garden, I will thank Thee evermore, Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing, For Thy bleeding and Thy dying, For that last triumphant cry, And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high” (v. 7). Thanks be to God for this unimaginable gift! “Glory be to Jesus, Who in bitter pains Poured for me the life-blood From His sacred veins!” (LSB 433). “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24-25).

But, O Lord Jesus, we confess that we are indeed worms and no men. We are subhuman, for we have failed to live up to that which You created us to be from the beginning. We confess that we have sinned most grievously, and more grievous still, that our very nature is corrupt. We are born spiritually blind, dead, and Your enemies. We confess that as a result we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In fact, we join with the mockers. We scorn You. We hold You in derision. We confess that we have often joined our voices with those who hold You in contempt, with those who shriek, “He saved others, He cannot save Himself. Let the Lord deliver Him since He delights in Him.” We, too, have mocked You with our tolerance of false doctrine and our unholy way of life. Thus we have brought dishonor to Your holy Name. We, too, have joined in the making of faces and wagging of heads. And certainly we have not spoken in defense of Your glory when in the face of the mockery of others. We have not defended You to the death of us. We have not been willing to go the way of the cross and suffer scorn ourselves for You who suffered scorn for us. It is too hard. The sacrifice demanded is too much. The flesh is weak.

Forgive us, Lord Jesus. Deliver us, as You have promised. Your death is our life. Your resurrection is our victory. Forgive us as You forgave the penitent thief on the cross. He who had once mocked You with the rest of the crowd beheld You, the Word made flesh, the Lamb of God, pure and holy, as You gave Yourself for the life of the world, for his life and the lives of all people. He heard Your gracious words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And he was converted. In the midst of Your death he believed in You. And You strengthened him in the midst of his own death. As his fellow condemned mocked you, he did not remain silent. “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward for our wrong” (vv. 40-41). Dearest Lord Jesus, forgive us as You forgave the malefactor. Forgive us and strengthen us in the same way, so that all we think, say, and do may be for Your glory. Say to us, as You said to Him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (v. 43). Indeed, You do say this to us every time You speak Your precious Word of life to us, every time You feed us Your body and blood in the Sacrament. O Lord, all our trust is in You. You will deliver us. You will rescue us. You have forgiven all our sins. You have made us clean and given us strength. And on account of Your holy, precious blood, and innocent suffering and death, the Father delights in us. We are no longer worms. You have re-created us in Your image, and made us men. O Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[1] This year’s Lenten series is taken from Lamb of God, Pure and Holy (St. Louis: Concordia, 2008). The sermon is my own, but many of the ideas expressed therein are from the authors of the book.

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