The Lamb is Pierced

by The Rev. Mark Buetow

Dear Christians, on this Friday called "Good," rejoice in the blood and water that streams from Jesus' side. The Lamb is pierced. And "it is finished." There is nothing left to do for your salvation. Nothing left to be done to bring you to the Father. It's all been done by Jesus. Tonight, it all comes down to this: your sin and Jesus' water and blood. Your transgressions. Jesus' water and blood. Your hating God and not loving your neighbor. Jesus' water and blood. Your breaking of God's holy commandments and earning everlasting punishment. Jesus' water and blood. Death and the eternal and awful judgment of God against sin. Jesus' water and blood. It all comes down to this, through history, to this day, the day our Lord's side was opened and water and blood flowed out.

It shouldn't surprise us. The Lord's been saving people with water and blood since the beginning. Consider the blood of animals shed to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Consider the water of the flood which wiped out the world and saved Noah and His family in the ark. Think of the blood and water which flowed in Egypt, warning Pharaoh to let God's people go. Then the blood of the lambs painted on the doorposts and the waters of the Red Sea through which Israel walked on dry ground while Egypt was destroyed. Consider the blood and water which flowed freely in the Tabernacle and later the temple as over and over the priests washed in water and sacrificed the animals, shedding their blood. Over and over, always pointing ahead, water and blood were the ways in which the Lord was caring for His people.

And now, on the cross, water and blood. Jesus was born in the flesh. Born of the water of His mother's womb and shedding the blood of His circumcision. Baptized in the water of the Jordan. Bloodied by the bullies who crucified Him. But finally, there, on the cross, once for all, water and blood. From the side of God's Son. Who has finished it all. There is nothing to add to that water and blood that came from Jesus' side. Not our faith. Not our giving our heart to Jesus. Not our good works. Not our good intentions. Not our desire to be saved. Nothing can be added to His water and blood. His water and blood flows and takes with it our sins. Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you ever even for the smallest moment, doubt that your sins are terrible and great, then ponder the water and the blood that had to flow from the Son of God to take them away. And if you ever, even for the smallest moment, doubt that your sins are gone, then consider again that water and blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

But the water and blood don't stop on Calvary. They flow from Jesus side down to the ground, down from that hill. The water flows into the font of Christ's churches throughout the world. And His blood spills into the chalice of His churches. And there, at the font, from the cup, water and blood are given to you. Put upon you. What flows out of Christ flows upon you and into you, saving you. Your Baptism gives you Jesus. The Supper gives you Jesus. THAT is how you are saved, dear Christian, by the water and blood of Jesus, not just "back then" but here and now, given to you at the holy font and from the holy altar of Jesus. The soldiers pierced Jesus to make sure He was dead. Water and blood flowed so that you would be sure that you are saved. Your Baptism and His Supper are given to you for that purpose: that you never doubt God's mercy and forgiveness, but cling to them, and live by the water and blood of Jesus.

It's tempting, as we live in this life, to put Jesus out of our minds most of the day. We live our lives and suppose that faith and religion are all about something going on inside of us. My "believing" or my piety or how I practice my religion. Repent, dear Christian of any thinking or believing or religion or piety that does not include the water and blood of Jesus. Repent of any living that doesn't acknowledge all that is given to you in Holy Baptism. Repent of any faith and piety that doesn't include the Supper of Jesus in which His body and blood are given to you. Repent of ever wanting to add anything to His water and blood. It can't be done. His water and blood are the proof that it is finished. Your salvation is a done deal by His water and His blood. Don't ever listen to any voice that tells you there is anything more to your faith than the water and the blood. Run from any preaching or teaching that doesn't point you to the water and the blood.

When Adam was alone, the Lord caused Him to fall asleep and took from His side a rib with with to make Him a wife. On the cross, when Jesus falls into the sleep of death, His side is opened and water and blood flow out. From that holy water and holy blood, a bride is made for Christ, His holy Christian Church. She is born of His water and blood from His side. She is born from above in water and the word and nourished and fed by His own body and blood. For her, and for you who are a part of her, the water and blood of Jesus are life. In His death, Jesus poured out water and blood. The water and blood of His death are the water and the blood of your life. That's why this Friday is called Good. Amen.

 

 

The Rev. Mark Buetow is pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in DuQuoin, IL, and the Internet Services Executive for Higher Things. He edits the Daily Reflections. He is married and father of three.

Created: March 21st, 2008