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A Part for the Whole


Luke 23:13-16

Midweek Lenten Sermon

3/23/22; 3/30/22; 4/6/22

St. Stephen’s—Beaver Dam, WI; St. John’s—Juneau, WI; Good Shepherd—Beaver Dam, WI


Tales have been told of heroic bravery. A person gives up their life to help save others. A soldier jumps on a grenade to save their comrades from any harm. They do not think about their own life. The only thing that matters is the survival of everyone else. One person sacrifices themselves for everyone else. A part for the whole.


Would we be so brave to sacrifice our life? In a split second would we make that decision to give up our life on behalf of everyone else? We would like to think we would. We hear about those brave tales, and we think we could easily join the ranks of those storied heroes.


Imagine though for a moment that our friend’s life no longer depends on us, but it would be our enemy’s. Would we be so willing to give our life for our enemy’s? All of a sudden, we might not be so sure. We might be content to let them be. They deserve what is coming. A part for the whole does not make sense in that situation.


It all boils down to the question, “For whom would we give our life?” Lord willing, hopefully none of us will ever have to be put in a spot to make that kind of decision. However, Jesus was. One man had to give his life for the whole, for you and for me.


Pilate finished his interrogation of Jesus. The religious leaders had brought Jesus early on that Friday morning to Pilate’s house. In their own hasty trial, they found Jesus guilty. However, they wanted to move from small claims court to federal court. Their appetite for blood continued to grow. Only Pilate could give them what they wanted, the sentence of death. So, they dragged Jesus in front of Pilate.


Pilate served as sort of the governor of the area. He came with the full power of the Roman emperor to keep law and order in the land. Pilate was no stranger to presiding over trials. He could sense guilt or innocence from a mile away. This trial, though, was different. The evidence was not for stealing or murder. It dealt with Jewish religious law.


Jesus put up no defense. He remained silent barely answering any of Pilate’s questions. Pilate was confused. He sensed Jesus’ innocence. Even Pilate’s wife tried to persuade him to free Jesus. After his investigation, Pilate was going to pronounce his verdict upon Jesus, which should have been a no brainer for everyone.


He called together all the chief priests and rulers of the people. They claimed that Jesus was misleading the people. In reality Jesus spoke the truth. He proclaimed himself as the Son of God, the Promised Messiah. Jesus spoke against the religious leaders who spewed forth misinformation to the people. The only crime Jesus was guilty of was speaking the truth.


Pilate found no basis for the charges against Jesus. Pilate even enlisted the help from an unlikely foe. Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee. Jesus was under the authority of Herod. Pilate sent Jesus to Herod to see if he could make sense of this matter.


Herod was interested in seeing Jesus, however, he only wanted to see miracles. Herod heard about Jesus and wanted to be entertained. Even Herod found no guilt in Jesus to be sentenced to death. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate no closer to a guilty verdict than before.


Pilate’s words were very telling. He has done nothing worthy of death. Jesus should have been freed with the apologies of the court. He was innocent of all charges. Jesus did not speak up. Jesus did not demand to be freed from the court. Jesus didn’t appeal the decision.


Jesus couldn’t do any of that. He was innocent of all charges. However, we were not. Our sins put Jesus in that position. Our guilt brought the cursed judgment upon Jesus. We should have been the ones standing before Pilate that day answering for the guilt of our sins.


This does not come as a secret. We know the guilt our sins deserve. In his Word Jesus says the soul that sins dies. The wages of sin is death. We sin. We cannot even deny it. The times we come into this building only to go through the motions. Our heart thinks about work, the bills, the NCAA tournament, or whatever else rather than on God’s Word. The times we do not speak up against sins such as abortion and the roles of men of women when others put down the biblical teaching on these subjects. The list could go on. It touches each of our hearts sending a shiver down our spine.


Our sins make us guilty. However, Jesus stands in our place. He did not deserve death, but we did. Yet, Jesus is willing to take our place. One is willing to die for the whole. Jesus takes not only our sins but the sins of the entire world upon himself. He is willing to face the punishment our sins deserve.


Pilate thought he could appease the anger of the Jewish religious leaders by having Jesus flogged and released. However, no amount of flogging could pay the price for our sins. Jesus had to go to the cross. He had to suffer and die in our place. Jesus would do all of this for you, for me, for the all the world.


One man was willing to give his life for the guilty. We had nothing to repay him. Jesus, out of his great love for us, was willing to give his life so that we might be free. All those sins we commit on a daily basis have been removed. We no longer deserve death. We are free. We are forgiven. We receive all of this through faith because one man died for the whole.


Jesus was willing to throw himself upon the guilt of the world’s sins so that the world might be free. He took the punishment of being forsaken by God, so that those who have faith in him might never be forsaken by God. One man needed to die. It had to be an innocent man so that we might be free. Jesus took our place. One man, Jesus, gave his life for the whole. Amen.

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