‘Baptism, Communion, the Crux of Victory!’

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds”,

            Foretold from the Fall that He would be injured, the serpent crushed; that the offspring of Eve would destroy sin, death and the devil (Genesis 3). Promised to God’s ancient people, a suffering servant, offspring of David and God Himself (Isaiah 52-53; Ezekiel 34). His death sung by Isaiah in his prophecies and in the psalms. Despised by all, abandoned by His closest friends, pierced and lifted up, surrounded by enemies, lots thrown for His clothes. He cried out this Psalm 22, His prayer in His crucifixion. Dry in the dust of death, but you O Lord are my strength, deliver/rescue/save me from my enemies. The last line of that Psalm, they will proclaim to a people yet unborn, that He has done it. It is finished. Christ is Victor!

            This is the second part of the Divine service of Easter, after the command to share Christ’s love, and before the Glorious, Wonderful Day of His proclamation. Here today the victory is won. The wonderous New Covenant is cut, as the old Hebrew goes, This new relationship between God and His creation is made here on the cross. We are draw into it by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Holy Communion. This Covenant cut in Jesus, the relationship born on the cross. Water and blood flowing from Him, baptism and Holy Communion where we grow in this relationship. Last night Jesus proclaimed it, a relationship grown over a meal; His Blood of the New Covenant. Now Today, we see what this relationship, this mystery means. He carries the burden of our sin, as we might carry the failure of our child/friend/worker, He carries the failure of the Jewish leaders, the guilt of those who called for the death of an innocent man, the sin of Pilate, He carries the sin of the whole world on His shoulders as He carried that cross beam to the place of the skull (1 Peter 2:24). As The High Priest, Jesus mediates with God on our behalf, to deal with our sin; and as The pure sacrifice He takes on our sin and dies with it. Jesus is victorious over sin.

            He who is Life, Truth, He who is our righteousness, Jesus in the same way as He healed by touching others and overpowering their illness, Jesus touches us and destroys sin, death and the devil in our lives. The pure water and blood that poured from His side are brought to us by the Holy Spirit, for our purification in Baptism and Holy Communion. This is why we renounce the devil and die to sin, how we proclaim Christ’s death until He comes. There is no other way besides Jesus for our reconciliation with God Almighty, and this is why the author says: “Therefore, siblings, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

            As we cling to Him, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.