“He Wouldn’t Come Down”

“He Wouldn’t Come Down”Mark 15:1-47

Sermon Notes – Palm Sunday (B)  3/25/18

Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“If I only knew” How many times have we said, thought this? And most times having to do with averting that which caused us heartaches, headaches, pain, problems, and even very serious consequences of our actions. In contrast to this…

The Son of God… the Second Person of the Holy Trinity… knew. Jesus, our Lord and Savior… knew… perfectly. And not just from the beginning… at this, the start of Holy Week… what will happen as He makes His way into Jerusalem.

Not just from then, but always. The eternal Godhead knew… has always known… what would happen in the minutes, hours and days we are about to observe.

Jesus knew. And still He came not only to Jerusalem now, but to earth, then! He left the heavenly, holy realms to come to the stinking cesspool of sin here on earth… to those, all those, who were under the curse of sin – every man, women, child and infant. He took on our flesh and is about to take on our sins.

Jesus, our dear Savior, knew. He came and what is more, He endured it all… everything you heard read in our Gospel lesson.

He who could have never let it start, saw it to the end. And this, out of love for the Father, His heavenly Father… this, out love for us… for you… for me… for all people.

What we keep coming back to… and this is a good thing… is that our Lord could have ended it at any time… before time and in time… anytime here on earth and certainly before, during and right up to the end of His three-year ministry.

  • He could have ended it at any time during His 40 days in the wilderness, faced with hunger and Satan’s temptations.
  • Certainly, He could have ended it in the Garden of Gethsemane, never allowing Judas to come close to Him, let alone betray Him with a kiss.
  • At the moment the Jewish soldiers laid hold of Him, He could have ended it.
  • Before Caiaphas and the Jewish Council, before that first slap on the face… and certainly after.
  • Or before, during or after every place our Lord is taken… initially to Pilate… then to Herod… and back to Pilate.
  • He could have ended it before being paraded around and being subject to all of the lies… all of the false charges and accusations.
  • He could have ended it with the great injustice of the murderer, Barabbas, being set free and He Himself being sentenced to death… He Himself being murdered. And oh-how this was an immediate precursor to the injustice of you and me and all of sinful mankind being set free, scot-free, as our innocent Brother dies in our place… the sinless, spotless, Lamb of God.
  • With every person’s spit and spittle hitting Him… our dear Lord could have brought it all to a halt.
  • With the scourging He endured… with each sharp and stinging lash of the whip hitting His back and lacerating His flesh, ripping His flesh.
  • With the cruel mocking, the placing of the purple robe around Him and then with each puncture from the crown of thorns placed upon His head.
  • When He fell carrying His cross to Golgotha… He could have ended it.
  • When He was stripped of His clothes and His body man-handled.
  • With every spike driven into His hands and feet.
  • As He is then lifted up… hoisted up… on the cross, feeling the intensified pain brought about by His holy, innocent body pressing on the nails and as He fights for every breath, trying to keep His diaphragm pushing His lungs to take in and exhale every breath. As He realizes He is slowly suffocating.
  • And this… in the midst of this… hearing the taunts and the jeers of those passing by this public spectacle … deriding Him, “wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’” Also the chief priests with the scribes who mocked him saying, “‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Also, those who were crucified with Him on His right and on His left reviled him.

He wouldn’t come down. He didn’t come down. He didn’t end it all even as our Lord cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”… “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And this as Christ our Savior is truly alone… there in the darkness… there on the cross. His Holy Father… our Holy Father… not being with His only Begotten who is loaded down with the sins of the world… all of them… every last one of them… yours… mind.

The very Son of God.. the very Son of Man wouldn’t come down. He didn’t come down. He didn’t end it all because of His desire to end something far greater… namely sin, death and the devil for you… for me… for all people.

My friends, the very Son of God and Son of Man… Jesus… wouldn’t come down from the cross because He loves us so.

Truly, it is this love, pure love, divine love that kept Him on the cross… not the nails… not the soldiers… not sinful man of which we are part.

It was His love for us… and that is what unfolds before us in the days ahead… the greatest love story of all time.

Join us, won’t you? In an upper room on Thursday as we celebrate the institution of the Blessed Supper.

On Friday, as we hear the full Passion narrative beginning at noon… the hour when darkness covered the land. And then in the evening as we witness again the greatest of all battles between good and evil and the victory and defeat which ensued.

Then Sunday… glorious Sunday… when we hear the news, “He is risen!”   and we rejoice in this exceedingly… as we do every Sunday… as we do every day of our lives. Realizing what we have been freed from, spared from… all because our dear Savior would not come down. Amen.