(42 verses, 2:39 to read)
What I am about to READ
- “It is finished!”
- “Behold your King” (1-16).
- Jesus’ Crucifixion and Pilate’s Inscription (17-22).
- “They divided my garments among them” (23-24).
- “Woman, behold your son” (25-27).
- “It is finished” (28-30).
- “They will look on him whom they have pierced” (31-36).
- The Faithful Work of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
- Read these verses slowly and consider every word, for here your Savior, the Lamb of God, offers himself up as the spotless sacrifice for the sin of the world. When he says “It is finished” he ends every sinful work that tries to gain the Father’s favor. There’s nothing left for you to do to merit your salvation. He bears your sin and you gain his righteousness. Hear these words and rejoice. You are forgiven and washed clean from a guilty conscience with the blood and water that pours from Jesus’ pierced side.
- Pilate brings Jesus out before the crowd twice. Amidst a blood thirsty roar crying for crucifixion, Pilate speaks the words “Behold the Man” and “Behold your King.” What Pilate meant for mockery, to show how pitiful and weak Jesus was, both statements are completely true.
- Jesus is the Man, God bearing human flesh, a human nature like yours, that can and would suffer and die. The holy mystery of the incarnation led to this moment and it benefits you now in the Ascension. Though Jesus appeared in weakness, consider the strength of his obedience to his Father’s will that remained steadfast to the end. Thanks be to God.
- Jesus is also King. As counterfeit and sham as his rule must have seemed, at that moment he continued his work of upholding all creation by his mighty power. He granted Pilate the authority to have himself handed over to death. In this sense, the Kingdom of Power in that hour was in full service to the Kingdom of Grace. Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, is pronounced guilty in a court that has legitimacy from God himself. Justification is “forensic” after all. According to his office as appointed judge, Pilate upholds his true pronouncement of Jesus as King when he refuses to change the inscription on the cross. “What I have written I have written.” Much more could be said on Jesus as Man and King, but let this suffice for now.
- Jesus keeps the Law for you even from the cross. He honors his mother as is prescribed in the Fourth Commandment. He does this for your sake as much as he did if for the Blessed Virgin. His righteousness with regard to this commandment is now yours in Baptism.
- The dividing of Jesus’ garments is prophesied in Ps. 22:18 and his pierced side in Zec. 12:10. These serve as precious proofs that Jesus is the long awaited Savior.
- Though Nicodemus and Joseph were disciples in secret, which is a bit of a contradiction in terms, they serve their Lord in faith by tending to his mortal remains. We should take their example to heart as we bury our dead in anticipation of resurrected life in Jesus name.
- Prayer: “O Sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown. O Sacred Head, what glory, what bliss, till now was Thine! Yet, tho’ despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine” (TLH 172, Stanza 1).
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-Pastor A. Brian Flamme