Good Friday—Chief Service (2 Cor 5:14–21)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Blood. Death. Water. Cross. It’s all come down to this. Those things are unchangeable. They happened. All good things. Good for you. Christ for you. Good Friday for you.

Reconciliation. Peace. Mercy. Love. It’s all come down to that, too. Those things are what God does and who He is. He does them, in Christ. He shows that’s who He is, in Christ. That’s forgiveness. Good Friday forgiveness for you. Christ for you.

Blood. Death. Water. Cross. Reconciliation. Peace. Mercy. Love. That’s Christ. That’s who He is. That’s what He does. They happened. They are all for you. But not just for you. Christ for you and for all people, too. That’s Good Friday. But it’s not just Good Friday. It’s also now.

CHRIST FOR ALL, CHRIST FOR YOU—THAT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND YOUR BAPTISM, TOO!

((I. That really is Good Friday.))

That really is Good Friday in a nutshell—CHRIST FOR ALL, CHRIST FOR YOU. That’s what Paul says: “He died for all.” That’s “Christ’s love.” He died for everyone. Blood. Death. Water. Cross. Even for those who crucified Him, who don’t believe in Him, who reject Him. There’s no one that Jesus didn’t die for. Objective fact. And if “one died for for all, then all died.”

His death counts for all. “God was in Christ reconciling creation to Himself, not crediting their trespasses to their account.” No, He credited all sinfulness, every single sin of the universe to Christ’s account. The innocent One is Transgressor, the Guiltless is Guilty, the Sinless is Sin itself: “He made Him to be sin who knew no sin.” That’s reconciliation and peace, mercy and love. For all.

But it’s not just for all. It’s for you, too! If Good Friday happened for all, then it happened for you, too. “All” includes you. “Be reconciled to God.” That message is for you. And you are reconciled to God. “God was in Christ reconciling creation to Himself,” making Christ “to be sin who knew no sin, so that we would become God’s righteousness in Him.” Your sin was Jesus’. On His cross it was His. He bled for it. Died for it.

((Transition.))

Good Friday. Blood. Death. Water. Cross. Christ’s for you. His reconciliation and peace, mercy and love. That’s for you, too. But not just for you—for all. CHRIST FOR ALL, CHRIST FOR YOU—THAT’S GOOD FRIDAY. But not just Good Friday. Can’t just be. CHRIST FOR ALL, CHRIST FOR YOU—THAT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND YOUR BAPTISM, TOO!

((II. That really is Holy Baptism—your Baptism!))

That really is Holy Baptism. Yes, “God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,” in His death, but He’s not done. He “established the ministry of reconciliation for us.” The Lord’s ministers—His pastors—are His ambassadors who deliver His reconciliation and peace, His love and mercy in the here and now. We do it by bringing you what Jesus did for you: Blood. Death. Water. Cross.

We make it yours. Baptize you into it. For there at the font Jesus’ blood, death, water, and cross all come together for you. The font makes them yours. Splashes the rosy-red water that flowed from Jesus’ side all over you. It washes you makes you clean. The cross is yours in that water. Just as the cross was traced over your forehead and heart to mark you as one redeemed—paid for—by Christ the crucified. Your baptism unites you to His death. But it doesn’t just united you to His death. It unites you to His resurrection, too!

“He died for all, so that those who live no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose for them.” That’s you! Has to be. You’re in Christ, after all. Baptized. A new creation. The new has come! Jesus’ newness of life is yours. Delivered as a gift. Now you “are God’s righteousness” in Jesus, baptized into Him.

And “to live for Him who died and rose” means to live for your neighbor. Because Jesus wants you to live for and love your neighbor. If you’re loving your neighbor becasue that means you’re doing Jesus a solid, that means you’re not really loving your neighbor as Jesus tells you to. You’re really loving yourself.

Jesus want you to use your baptism in love and service to them. You are baptized to love them. You are in Christ to serve them. Jesus doesn’t really need your service, your works, but your neighbor definitely does. Everyone around you does. Even the people—no, especially the people you don’t like or who’ve wronged you. Yes, them. You’re baptized to love them, forgive the,.

But this Baptism isn’t just for you. It’s for all! “Make disciples of all nations by baptizing them,” Jesus says. CHRIST FOR ALL is Holy Baptism. Jesus wants everyone baptized, living in His newness of life. He doesn’t want anyone living for themselves, but living in Him, for Him, which means, living for their neighbor. That’s Holy Baptism. “Be reconciled to God.” That message is for you. You are. You are Baptized. But it’s not just for you. For all, too.

((Conclusion.))

Blood. Death. Water. Cross. Peace and reconcilation, mercy and love. They all come together in Christ,. It’s for all. It’s for you. It’s what Good Friday and His cross are all about. It’s what everyday’s about, too, because it’s what His Font and your baptism are all about.

“Be reconciled to God.” Be baptized. Be absolved. Be body-and-blooded. Be forgiven. Be died for. Be raised from the dead for. Be new. Be resurrected. Be for others. You are all those things in Jesus, baptized into Him. You are all those things, and Christ wants everyone to be those things. That’s the way of things “in Him” because blood and death, water and cross bring about God’s peace and reconciliation, mercy and love. Not just then, but now! Has to be now. Has to be for all. Has to be for you. Because

CHRIST FOR ALL, CHRIST FOR YOU—THAT’S GOOD FRIDAY AND YOUR BAPTISM, TOO!

INI + AMEN.

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