22 March 2013

Sweet Injuries, Indeed

You see here that you dare not underestimate the depravity of man and the wicked perversion of his sinful heart.

The chief priests and the pharisees, the religious leaders of God’s people, bearing holy office and zealous for the Law, observe the many signs that Jesus performs, and for these they seek to seize Him and kill Him.

He healed the sick, made the lame to walk and the blind to see; and now, His most recent crime, He has raised the dead to life.  Sweet injuries, indeed, yet for these the Law and the Priesthood must put Him to death for the people.

Do not suppose that your own sinful heart is free and clear of such depravity and perversion.

To take seriously who Jesus is, what He says and what He does, threatens your comfortable status quo, your place and your position in this world.

What are you called to drown and destroy in yourself, in your body and life?  How must you die?

The Law is constantly reminding you of your sin, and yet it is powerless to cleanse you of iniquity or to heal your mortality.

Though the Law of God is holy, good, and righteous, you are not.  Therefore, it cannot purify your conscience; it cannot set right your body and soul, your heart, mind, and spirit, with the Lord your God.  It only exposes your depravity, and even exacerbates it, and condemns you for it.

But now the same Law dares to lay the same judgment and condemnation upon Christ, because He has come to fulfill the will of God by the offering of Himself once for all.

Born of the Woman, and placing Himself under the Law, He redeems those who are under the Law.  He does it by the self-sacrifice of the same holy body in which He has lived in perfect conformity with the entire Law of God.  And this seeming contradiction, this travesty of justice by any normal standard, is the resolution of the same Law of God: the fulfillment of justice and righteousness.

In this sacrifice of Christ the holy priesthood also finds its perfect fulfillment and completion; for here is the true Passover Lamb, who is also your merciful and great High Priest.

Does He not go up to the Feast?  Indeed, He is the Feast!

He has offered Himself up to God to atone for the sins of the world; to reconcile man and all the world to God in Himself; to purify you and all of creation by His innocent suffering and death, by His holy and precious blood, and by His bodily Resurrection from the dead.

And now, then, He also feeds you with the same holy body and precious blood, so that you are spared and saved from death and sanctified for life.

Here, then, the Passover of Christ is at hand.  By this Feast, as by Your Holy Baptism, you are purified forever.  And you enter with Christ Jesus, in body and soul, through His sacrificial death and in His Resurrection, into the life everlasting with God, your Father.

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

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