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ST. STEPHEN’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

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Our Lord Has Won!

Categories:

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Good Friday Midday Service

4/15/22

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church—Beaver Dam, WI

 

The team lifts up the hero of the day upon their shoulders. They made the final basket to put their team on top. The mood has changed from sitting on the edge of seats due to nervousness to jubilation. Fans, players, and coaches cannot contain themselves. Some people run and jump around the court out of pure joy. Others fall onto the court bursting into tears of great joy. Victory! They cannot contain their excitement. On top of everything else, the hero is carried off on the shoulders of teammates.

 

Winning is not everything in sports. We can learn just as much in defeat as we can in winning. The goal is to put forth our best effort and leave nothing back. Today, we come to see our hero. The stakes were much greater than just another game. It had to do with our souls and eternity. In the end there absolutely would be no doubt of who comes out on top.

 

Our Lord Has Won!

  1. He was lifted up.
  2. He lifts us up.

 

The prophet Isaiah pictured the servant of the Lord. These chapters were not isolated in their instances of prophesying about the servant of the Lord. These two chapters of Isaiah provided some of the clearest prophecies concerning the servant’s work. Isaiah took his readers all the way to the cross. There they saw the Lamb of God, to whom all the sacrifices pointed ahead, taken to the slaughter. The guilt of the world placed upon him, so that we might be free.

 

The sight would make a person’s stomach turn. “Just as many were appalled at him” (Isaiah 52:14). Originally, the teachings of Jesus made many people turn away from him. Some people could not understand the teachings, so they deserted Jesus. The Jewish leaders wanted to take it further. They saw Jesus as a threat. The grip of the religious leaders among the people started to loosen. Jesus freed the people with the gospel message of forgiveness while the religious leaders wanted to keep them under rules taught by men.

 

They wanted Jesus dead. They finally got their wish. A rushed trial found Jesus guilty of blasphemy. The pressure got to Pontius Pilate to wash his hands of Jesus but give him over the Jews to do as they wished.

 

As people walked by the cross, they would hardly recognize Jesus. “His appearance was so disfigured that he did not look like a man, and is form was disfigured more than any other person” (Isaiah 52:14). His body broken from the beatings and flogging. His head mangled from the crowns of thorns digging deeper and deeper into his skull. Blood dripping down from the nail wounds in his hands and feet. Jesus gasping for breath completely fatigued.

 

Many walking by wanted nothing to do with him. His enemies kept a watchful eye to make sure he died. Those with doubts appalled and in disbelief. If he was the Savior, it certainly looked nothing like it at this moment. They shook their heads in disbelief as they walked away. His friends and loved ones were appalled that such a thing could happen to the Savior of the world.

 

So many waited for the Savior to come. They longed to lift him upon their shoulders and parade him around Jerusalem to shouts of praise. The Savior was supposed to be someone special. Instead, they watched Jesus lifted up upon the cross.

 

Was this really how Isaiah’s prophecy should have unfolded? Isaiah pictured victory, “He will be lifted up. He will be highly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13). Jesus was lifted up in victory. Part of that included being lifted up on the cross. In the cross Jesus was exalted. Isaiah spoke about no beauty to attract us to him. He was like a sheep led to the slaughter. He did not open his mouth. He simply took it all.

 

Jesus did it to gain his victory. Satan got his blow in. Jesus stomped the head of the ancient serpent. Payment has been completed. Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the devil is won. Jesus was lifted up on the cross, so that he might shed his blood to satisfy the anger of a just God over sin. Jesus was exalted by giving his life upon the cross to swallow up death forever.

 

Jesus did it all for us. Isaiah speaks very openly about the reason for Jesus’ suffering. “Surely he was taking up our weaknesses, and he was carrying our sufferings. We thought it was because of God that he was stricken, smitten, and afflicted, but it was because of our rebellion that he was pierced. He was crushed for the guilt our sins deserved. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).

 

We were sinking down in our sins. We walk away from God as we live to please ourselves. We speak lies. We do not manage our time, talents, or treasures in God pleasing ways as we should. God’s anger over our sins burns. We should have been punished.

 

Jesus was punished in our place. He took all our guilt upon himself so that we might be free. Jesus was lifted up on the cross so that he might lift us up in our life. Jesus won forgiveness upon the cross for us.

 

This is a day of sadness. Our Lord gives up his life. He deserved none of it. He took my sins upon himself so that I might be free. We also find joy on this day. God’s love is so great that he gave up his one and only Son for me. I am free. Jesus has lifted me up, so that I might be exalted with him in heaven.

 

Jesus was lifted up upon the cross. This is not the victory celebration we would expect. However, through this he won the victory for us. He did it all so that we might be lifted up from our sins to be with him. This day we see how Our Lord Has Won! Amen.

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