GOOD FRIDAY: SERVICE OF DARKNESS
SERMON TEXT: Hebrews 9:11-14
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
FIRST LESSON: Lamentations 1:1-5
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts.
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan,
her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease.
The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
SECOND LESSON: Lamentations 1:6-14
All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion.
Her princes are like deer that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and wandering, Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her nakedness;
she herself groans and turns away.
Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.
“Look, O LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
The enemy laid hands on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
All her people groan as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.
“Look, O LORD, and consider, for I am despised.”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?
“From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet and turned me back.
He made me desolate, faint all the day long.
“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together.
They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.”
The Passion History Part 7 from “The Christ of the Gospels” by William F. Beck