Kruiz edited
God Died
Wednesday of Holy Week
12 April 2017
Holy Week is a doleful time in the church's life. And this is right because the Lord's death shows the sinner the end result of his sin. My sin costs God the precious life of His Son. But Holy Week is not to be a time of mourning as the world mourns a death; for the world mourns without hope. Our Lord warns us not to weep for Him, for His death is not a cause of mourning. His death is a cause of life and therefore of joy. We look back to His death through the lens of Easter. The resurrected Lord holds our hand in His nail-scarred hand and leads us to His cross where we should rejoice to our salvation portrayed upon it, in His suffering and death.
 
The Feast of the Passover of the Lord, called the Triduum, Friday through Sunday of Holy Week, is a time of repentance mingled with great joy. The Christian acknowledges and confesses before the world that the Lord who dies is the Son of God who offers His life to rescue from sin and death. Only this Son of God can rescue from so pervasive and powerful a foe as death. If He is any less than God's Son, He has not the power of Life within Him. Holy Week then becomes a week of joy for hearts made glad through the salvation won by Christ.
 
Let us be encouraged in this joy by pointing to the divinity of Christ, who, if He is not fully God, could not be a source of joy at all. If Christ is a mere creature, then the death He died, He could not die for all, and the life He lives would not give to all freedom from corruption. Theological liberals teach that Christ was a mere creature, perhaps the first and best of the creation, yes; but still a mere creature and not God. Here is a cause for sadness and mourning, that this best of all creatures was killed, and to what effect? What good does it do you to have even the greatest human killed? Only He who is the Life can bring life from death for us who are subject to death. So let us keep the feast with sincerity and truth.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"O Lord God! We should always rejoice in true faith, free of dispute and doubt, over such a blessed, comforting doctrine, to sing, praise, and thank God the Father for such inexpressible mercy that he let his dear Son become like us, a man and our brother! Yet the loathsome devil instigates such great annoyance through proud, ambitious, incorrigible people that our cherished and precious joy is hindered and spoiled for us. May God have pity! We Christians should know that if God is not in the scale to give it weight, we, on our side, sink to the ground. I mean it this way: if it cannot be said that God died for us, but only a man, we are lost. But if God's death and a dead God lie in the balance, his side goes down and ours goes up like a light and empty scale. Yet He can also readily go up again, or leap out of the scale! But He could not sit on the scale unless He had become a man like us, so that it could be called God's dying, God's martyrdom, God's blood, and God's death. For God in his own nature cannot die; but now that God and man are united in one person, it is called God's death when the man dies who is one substance or one person with God."

Martin Luther, On the Councils and the Church
Romans 6:5-14

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
 
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.   (ESV)
Collect for Wednesday of Holy Week
Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
 
For Leah Margaret Mshama, that she would receive the gift of human care in the days of her weakness
 
For all those who have kept the Holy Week disciplines, that they may grow in faith and confidence in Christ their Savior, who has died for the sins of the world
 
For those who will attend services over the next four days and are prepared to receive the fullness of the mystery of the resurrection on Easter Sunday, that they may be shaped by God's Word
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias   Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017