Reflections: Good Friday

March 29, 2024 

Today’s Reading: John 18:1-19:42, John 19:17-37

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 12:29-32; 13:1-16; Lamentations 5:1-22, Hebrews 6:1-20, Psalm 22

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.  The tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” (John 19:23-24a)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever thought about what happened to that seamless tunic?  …  One of those soldiers went home with it that day and wore it as his own.  Ponder that for a moment:  This sinner’s nakedness is now covered by the literal clothes of Christ.  … Sure that sounds strange, but isn’t that exactly what Jesus does for the sinner?  Isn’t that the whole reason why Jesus came into our flesh:  to take away our sin and guilt and shame and replace it with something else, something of His, something that would turn us from shameful sinners into righteous and shameless saints?

Jesus’ cross comes to you.  It already has.  It continually does.  And that means the forgiveness of sins here in time and space.  That means the righteousness of Jesus given for you right here and right now where you need it the most.  On the cross we see a perfect God, who is perfect no longer.  He is sin.  He is your sin.  He is a sinner.  He is you.  And so He wears the clothes of a sinner:  shameful nakedness.  He takes upon Himself your clothing, your sin, your guilt, your shame, your nakedness.  And then He exchanges it with His own righteousness:  a seamless tunic, not ripped apart, one whole piece from top to bottom, clothing your sinful shame, making you righteous and perfect.

In a watery grave you put on the seamless tunic of Christ’s righteousness, you put on Christ Himself.  That is your baptism:  the cross for you.  And there God exchanged your clothes for His, there you put on the robe of righteousness, never to be taken off, never to be exchanged for another.  On the cross Jesus declared, “It is finished!”  Nothing more needed to be done.  He put on your sin and hangs naked on the cross.  And now in time and space, to last unto eternity, you wear His seamless robe of righteousness to cover your nakedness.  It is the blessed exchange!  It is Jesus for you!  It is always Jesus for you.  Even in the smallest of details. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Be Thou my consolation, My shield, when I must die; Remind me of Thy passion When my last hour draws nigh.  Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, Upon Thy cross shall dwell, My heart by faith enfold Thee.  Who dieth thus dies well.  (LSB 450:7)

– Pastor Eli Lietzau is pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

Unforgivable? Unforgiveness is a prison—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In a world full of turmoil, many use forgiveness as a coping mechanism without understanding what true forgiveness is. Learn what forgiveness from Christ looks like, and how He forgives His people.