Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Cross of Christ

Tuesday after Pentecost 24
November 17, 2009

The Lord be with you

    The crucifixion, which ended with the triumphant cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30), was the offering of the all-sufficient sacrifice for the atonement of all sinners. The Man on the cross was the Lamb of God, who bears the sins of the world to carry them away from the face of God. The salvation of the whole world once hung by those three nails of the cross on Golgotha. As the fruit from the wood of the forbidden tree from which the first man once ate brought sin, death, and damnation upon the entire human race, so the fruits of the wood of the cross restored righteousness, life, and blessedness to all people.

    On account of this, the cross is both holy and blessed! Once nothing but a dry piece of wood, it was changed, like Aaorn’s staff, into a green branch full of heavenly blossoms and fruit. Once an instrument of torment for the punishment of sinners, it now shines in heavenly splendor for all sinners as a sign of grace. Once the wood of the curse, it has now become, after the Promised Blessing for all people offered Himself up on it, a tree of blessing, an altar of sacrifice for the atonement, and a sweet-smelling aroma to God. Today, the cross is still a terror—but only to hell. It shines upon its ruins as a sign of the victory over sin, death, and Satan. With a crushed head, the serpent of temptation lies at the foot of the cross. It is a picture of eternal comfort upon which the dimming eye of the dying longingly looks, the last anchor of his hope and the only light that shines in the darkness of death.
The above quote is from the Treasury of Daily Prayer (Concordia Publishing House, © 2008), which I use for my daily devotions. It was a gift to me from my wife last year. For each day of the year there are readings from the Bible, a “writing” from a saint in glory, a hymn, a prayer, and a suggested reading from the Book of Concord. The “writing” corresponds to one of the Scripture lessons. Right now the NT readings are from Matthew 27, the crucifixion of Christ. The “writing” for today is from C.F.W. Walther (1811-1887) and I like is so much I just thought I’d share.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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