Sermons

Good Friday—Tenebrae (Jn 19:1–42)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Lift up your eyes and see the salvation of God. The Lord God from heaven above with a mighty hand and outstretched arms has saved His people, all people. “My eyes look up to the hills,” from there, from above our help and salvation come. As Jesus says, “You are from beneath; I am from above.” Salvation isn’t just “from above;” it is above! That’s today. Salvation was up. Jesus, your Savior was up: on a hill, lifted up, crucified, “from aboved.” Good Friday is good because of that. Yeah,

JESUS IS “FROM ABOVED” THAT YOU WOULD BE BORN FROM ABOVE.

((I. Everything in this life is “from above”—from God.))

Everything is “from above.” All the gifts we enjoy in this life are from God alone. Our “daily bread” is delivered to us “daily,” and He delivers this “daily bread” “to everyone, even to all evil people.”

Yeah, even unbelievers get daily bread. Those who want nothing to do with Him except a passing mention also get daily bread. (That’s all they get.) No one really earns what they have. God gives it. You can deny it. But it still comes from Him. Like Jesus told Pilate: “you would have no authority unless it had been given to you from above.”

((II. Your Savior is from above.))

But it’s even more than just the things of this life: Jesus, too, is from above. ““Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Only God is good and perfect, and Jesus was sent from above, from the Father, to be your Savior. That’s what Jesus says in John 8: “You are from beneath; I am from above.” He was “incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.”

His miracles and teaching proved it, too. “Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus by night” recognized it. He said “no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, fed thousands, and He even raised the dead. Clearly Jesus, the Savior, the Christ, was “from above.”

He wasn’t just “from above.” He was above. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He was lifted up: “they crucified him, and with him two others, one [there and the other there], and Jesus [in the middle.]” The One who was “from above” was seen “from beneath” because He was above, nailed to the cross. There your Savior hanging for you.

((III. You are from above.))

You are also from above. Not by nature, though. “We are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.” We are “by nature children of wrath just like everyone else,” as Paul says. To not admit this, to think “it’s not all that bad,” “people are generally good,” is to prove the point. Because if that was true, we could fix that. But by nature we can’t. Left to ourselves we’d live comfortable lives without God in the picture. Many people do. A lot of times we do, too. “Daily and much.” So, how bad is it? God had to die! That tells us how bad off we really are by nature.

But you really are from above. How? By birth—new birth! You were “born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” As Jesus said, “unless one is born from above,” “born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” You were born that way in Holy Baptism. That is the birth from above. That makes Jesus’ Father your Father, Jesus your Brother, and the Spirit your Comforter.

There the “it is finished” of the cross is delivered to you. There Jesus gives up His Spirit to you. There we can see the water from Jesus’ side. “This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood.” Now you are born into Him. God’s child. Heir of heaven. You are now and forever from above—one who loves God and everyone around you “daily and much.” “Body and blood for you” much.

JESUS IS “FROM ABOVED” THAT YOU WOULD BE BORN FROM ABOVE. He was “lifted up” for our transgressions. From above He cried: “It is finished.” From above the blood and water came down. From above you were born through that water and the Spirit He “gave up” at Calvary and the Font.

Really from above. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” You really are born from above because Jesus was “from aboved,” crucified for you, and by Baptism you’re certainly in on that.

INI + AMEN.

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