Good Friday (John 19:17-30)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR
Good Friday + April 14, 2017
Text: John 19:17-30
The Seventh Petition
“Deliver us from evil.”
We cry out under the weight of evil.  The children of Israel cried out to God from cruel slavery.[1]  Our hearts ache as we hear or live stories of abuse, murder, and fraud all around us in the world.  We plead with God for a miracle when we see our loved ones stretched out on gurneys at the verge of death, or when parents have to bury their children.  Who will save us?!
It’s little comfort to explain the psychology or mental illness leading people to commit their crimes.  It’s not very helpful when the doctor tells us what’s wrong when there’s no treatment.  We need another help beyond our human ability.
God has heard the cries of His people—from those of His ancient people to the pleads of your heart.  But, there is no stranger way that God answers our cries to be delivered from evil: The Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
He delivers us from sin by becoming sin for us and for all men.  Apart from Him, guilt only increases, and we are left in the mire of our own making.  We try to improve society and ourselves, but things only get worse and more depraved.  Only the blood of Christ can give a meaningful answer for the sins of the world.  Only the blood of Christ counts before God and gives us peace while we live in this body of death.[2]
He delivers us from the devil by bearing the full brunt of Satan’s attacks against humanity.  Satan, whose name means “adversary,” holds our sins over us to drive us to lose hope in God’s mercy.  He led our first parents into sin and now continues to preach to us that there’s no way we could be children of God because of the things we’ve done or failed to do.  But the Son of God delivers us from those assaults by bearing the accusations and lies Himself.  “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  Never, because it is by this cross that Satan is disarmed and has nothing more to accuse for those who trust in Jesus.
He delivers us from death by His death.  Who can save us from the curse that entered the world with sin?  Who has the power to undo what cancer does, to heal our broken bodies, and to save those who have been taken by the grave?   No mere creature could overcome death.  But by His suffering and death, Christ tasted death for all of us.[3]   And by tasting death, He destroyed its lasting power over us.  Everyone who believes and is baptized into Him has the promise of His resurrection!  Because of Christ, His people whose bodies are now lifeless will rise to eternal life.  Death no longer has dominion over them.[4]
Yes, cry out, “Deliver us from evil!”  Cry this out in confidence because by the evil of His betrayal, trial, suffering, and death, your Lord Jesus Christ has delivered and will deliver you from every evil which is done under the sun.  Amen.
[1] Exodus 1:8-22
[2] Romans 7:25
[3] Hebrews 2:9
[4] Romans 6:3-9

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