Sermon for Good Friday – April 2, 2021

+ Good Friday – April 2, 2021 +

Exodus 12:21-32

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Christ, the Firstborn, is Sacrificed”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

There’s a Jewish legend that says when darkness came after Adam’s first day in the world, that he wept through the night over the death of the sun. Ever since Adam’s fall, and Abel’s murder, has a single night passed when someone somewhere hasn’t wept over the death of someone else?

 

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning, sings the psalmist. But we know that isn’t always the case, at least not in this life. There’s a reason we call this fallen world the veil of tears.

 

In days of the Exodus the night was often full of tears as well. Israel, lamenting their slavery and bondage in Egypt. And then Egypt, weeping and wailing over the death of the firstborn. The last of the 10 plagues God poured out upon Egypt. That night echoed with a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.

 

Forever after that night, God claimed every Israelite firstborn as his own special child. They belonged to him. The Levites – the priests and sons of Aaron – represented these firstborn. These sons who labored in and around the tabernacle, who cared for the holy things of the Lord, who daily watched as doves, pigeons, sheep and goats, bulls and cows shed their blood and were burned on the altar – the Levites were the firstborn of Israel.

 

But where were they on this day of days we call Good Friday? Where were the Levites on the day their vocation was being fulfilled by the Great High Priest himself? Where were they who represented the firstborn of Israel, while the firstborn of earth and heaven, the only begotten Son of God, shed his innocent blood on the altar of the cross?

 

For Good Friday is the day when all of the Old Testament sacrifices and work of the priests stands fulfilled. No longer in the temple. No longer in the sheep, goats, or bulls. Not upon that altar, but upon Golgotha. In the blood of the Lamb of God. In the sacrifice of the true firstborn. In Jesus, the Savior of us all.

 

With ten plagues the Lord had attacked Egypt in the time of the exodus. Water to blood, a blitzkrieg of bugs, disease, thunder, hail. And the ninth attack, when Moses stretched out his hands towards the heavens, a sea of darkness flooded and covered Egypt. A darkness so thick, so black, so intense, you could feel it. Not for one, nor two, but three days God kept the sun at bay. Then after those three days came the zenith of those plagues, the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons.

 

That darkness and death was also a shadow of what was to come. Because for you, to ransom you, O captive Israel, one greater than Moses stretched out his hands towards heaven, to have them nailed to the wood of the cross for you. There he hangs on the tree of death to bear for you the fruit of life. There he hangs, suspended between God and man, making peace between him and you by the blood of his cross.

 

And along with his death comes the darkness, from the sixth to the ninth hour, a darkness fell over the whole land not for one, nor two, but three hours. The Father, who lifts up his face to enlighten us, hid his countenance from his firstborn Son.

Why? We wonder. Because God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. Because Jesus has come to be the firstborn of men for us. Firstborn for Cain the murderer. Aaron the idolater. David the adulterer. Jesus came for us born in sin. Whoever you are and whatever you’ve done or left undone – Jesus has become you and it. Jesus has taken your place, as did the Levites of old, to offer a better sacrifice that closes the book on the temple, altar, all of it. The firstborn is dead. For you. Killed by the judgment of God in your stead. In Jesus all the plagues are over and you are free.

 

You are free. For the Father has sent his firstborn Son into the world, not to kill, but to be killed. Not to judge but to be judged for you. Not to condemn, but to suffer condemnation for us.

 

On Good Friday, weeping did tarry for the night. And the next as well. Three days in fact. Until joy came to the women who came to the tomb on Easter morning.

 

For how could the grave hold the Lord of life? It could not. It cannot. It has not. Jesus lives. And when God raised Christ, he destroyed the last enemy. And Christ is the head of his body, the Church, the beginning, the firstborn of all creation and the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might have first place.

 

But he is the firstborn, not the only-born, for in him you, too, call God “Father.”

 

When Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. And this Son, all grown up, now wraps you, his adopted siblings, in the swaddling clothes of his flesh and blood, joining you to his own crucifixion and resurrection. All that is his, is now yours. Everything he has done, he has done for you.

 

In the exodus he accomplished in Jerusalem, you are his beneficiary. He leads you to Mt. Zion and to the city of the living God. To the heavenly Jerusalem, to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous men made perfect.

 

Jesus leads you to himself, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

 

A blessed Good Friday to each of you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com