Summary: A Good Friday sermon, looking at the last 7 words of Jesus on the cross.
Good Friday - March 25, 2016 - Jesus Wasn’t Lost for Words - Scripture: Various Gospel Accounts
What do you do when you’re lost for words?
This is Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, England. These are photographs before World War 2. Nice, big church.
This is the same church after it was bombed by Hitler during air raids in about 1940. Quite different. Very sad.
Coventry Cathedral is like life. Part beautiful, part ruins. Promising beginnings, and then hardship, pain and evil do their thing.
Some people like to focus only on the beautiful. Life is beautiful they like to say. But then when life gets ugly, they are lost for words.
When tragic, terrible things happen, the bubble bursts. And then what is left?
Some seem to focus only on the hardship of life. The ruins. Loss, suffering, pain, aloneness.
But then they see a newborn child, or a beautiful Spring flower, or a breathtaking sunset, and they are lost for words.
What do you do when you’re lost for words? When something amazingly beautiful, or something horribly tragic happens. What do you do?
The problem with words is that they fail us. Words sometimes don’t really work.
We think of Good Friday, and then we think of the Passion of Jesus, the suffering of Christ. We describe it that way, but it just doesn’t cut it.
Almighty God. Creator of everything. Incarnate. Enfleshed. God with human skin on. Exhausted. Beaten, Bruised. Abused. Humiliated, shamed, mocked, ridiculed.
Hands nailed. Feet pierced. Starved, parched. Thirsty. So very thirsty. There are no words. There are no words, really.
And yet Jesus found words. In His agony, as life drained from His body, He found words. But Jesus.
He found words. And His words live even up to this very day, this very second.
The First Word: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34)
His first words uttered on the cross were a simplified expression of why He came in the first place.
He prays for the forgiveness of the people who, with intent and malice, were killing him in the moment. He doesn’t imply they are innocent.
He’s saying they have no clue what is really happening here as He hangs on the cross.
His prayer was for everyone involved in his murder: the crowd who celebrated His arrival on Palm Sunday and then turned against Him, crying out: “Crucify Him!” to Pilate, who had the power to release Him or not.
So He prays here for the common inhabitant of the city of Jerusalem, and He prays for those who had come to the Holy City on a pilgrimage.
He prays for Pilate who opened the door legally to His death.
He prays for the Roman soldiers who mocked Him, (“Hail, king of the Jews!”), spit on Him, made jest of His Kingship, who crammed thorns (mimic) in the shape of a crown on His brow.
He prays for the religious leaders who stand around (mimic pointing) mocking Him: