Good Friday, 2017
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt
St. Paul says: “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23).
And even more to the point: “I have determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
The Church’s sermon is Christ and Him crucified.
We preach Christ crucified.
And though He’s no longer hanging on the cross, though He no longer suffers, though He’s no longer dead but lives, He is and will always remain Jesus Christ, the Crucified One.
For though He’s risen from the dead, He bears in His body the wounds of His crucifixion. He always has the marks of the nails, the thorns, and the spear.
He always bears the scars of our salvation. That we remember the price, and the Love of God that paid it, we remember Christ as the Lamb who appears slain yet lives!
So that’s what the Church preaches.
The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord, crucified.
The cross gives the church its glory and life, because the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ takes away our sin and death.
The cross conquers death and hell.
It stops the accusations of the devil and opens the grave and the tomb, both His and ours.
The Cross is the resurrection of the dead.
The Cross is the hope of Christians.
The Cross is a staff for the lame, comfort for the poor, defeat for those who oppress, and a perfect hope for those who despair.
The Cross is a haven for those beset by the storms of this life.
It’s comfort for those who mourn, light for those sitting in darkness, freedom for slaves, and wisdom for the ignorant.
The Cross is…nourishment for both the young and the old.
The Cross is the foundation of the Church.
It is the preaching of repentance by the prophets and the good news of the apostles.
The Cross is the destruction of idolatrous temples, the constant temptations for fallen hearts and minds.
The Cross is the cleansing of the lepers, the rehabilitation of the feeble.
The Cross is miraculous bread for the hungry, a fountain of living water for the thirsty, and clothing that endures for the naked.
The Cross is the good hope and joy of all who’ve sinned and believe in the Lord Jesus.
And by the Holy Cross, Christ the Lord has shut the all-consuming bowels of death and hell and blocked the many snares…of the devil.
Having seen the Cross, death trembled and released everyone it possessed.
Armed with the Cross, the God-bearing apostles subdued all the power of the enemy and caught all peoples in their nets, and the fishers of men gathered them to worship the One who is Crucified but risen.
And now, clothed in the Cross as in armor, Christians trample underfoot all the plans of the evil one.
For the cross is your victory, and that of the Heavenly King.
Let us, therefore, hold fast to the life-giving Cross given to us in Holy Baptism, upon our forehead and upon our heart.
Let us hold fast to the life-giving Cross placed upon our head in Holy Absolution.
Let us hold fast to the life-giving Cross, from which we receive the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
Let us always be armed with the invincible Christian armor, with this hope of the faithful, with this light that shines in the darkness always.
And by this instrument of death, let paradise be opened; let us find within this cross of wood the tree of life with every good.
It was meant to break Him, meant to curse Him, meant to end all hope.
But by this instrument of death, life eternal is obtained.
Let us not forget the Cross, not for one hour or one moment, nor let us begin to do anything without it.
Let us sleep, arise, work, eat and drink, let us go on our way and adorn all our members with the life-giving Cross.
Let us not be frightened “by the terror of the night, nor by the arrow that flies by day, nor by anything roaming in darkness, nor by any calamity, nor any demon” (Ps. 90:5, 6).
For by the cross of Jesus Christ, you have victory over sin, death, hell, and the devil.
In the cross of Christ, you have the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Cling ever to Christ and Him Crucified!
For there you have forgiveness and eternal life!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!