Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sermon -- Good Friday: The 7th Word (March 25, 2016)

THE SEVENTH WORD — Luke 23:44-46
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  And having said this he breathed his last.

     With his last breath, Jesus again recited his Psalms: “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5)  He went into death as if he were going to bed.  “Now I lay me down to sleep....”, confident that he would get up again.
     In his final word, Jesus does not address “God,” but his “Father.”  Like a son who has completed his assigned task, so he presented himself to his Father and submitted his work certain of his Father’s good pleasure.  Therefore, Jesus willingly put himself into his Father’s hands.  He willingly gave himself into death.  He confidently awaited his resurrection.
            Now you also are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)  Therefore, you, like the Son of God, can face death with equal comfort and confidence.  The God who gave you life has also secured your eternal life.  The Savior who conquered death remains your Savior even when death comes to you.  There is nothing to fear.  You can go into death as a child who has completed the task God has given you to do—which is to believe in the one he has sent.  You can submit to your Father, confident that he approves and loves you as his own child, for that is what you are.  And you can lay down confidently awaiting your resurrection.  For, death is but a sleep from which your Lord will awaken you.
            So, when your last hour comes, you can recite your Psalms as Jesus did: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8, NIV '84) “Father, into your hands I commend my body and soul and all things.” (Luther's evening prayer)