Sermon for Good Friday 03.29.24

Sermon for Good Friday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:10
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Epistle: Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
Gospel: John 18–19

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

(B) Psalm 41:10 serves as our sermon text for this evening, which reads as
Psalm 41:10 (NASB95)
10 But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, That I may repay
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.


(A) During the season of Lent, we have focused our attention upon Psalm 41,
written by David, written concerning our Christ.
(1) Although it was written many years before the birth of our Lord, Psalm
41 speaks history concerning Jesus:
(A) During the days of His humiliation, Jesus
“went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for
God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
(B) Thus fulfilled were David’s words from Psalm 41:
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (v. 1) and “he is called
blessed in the land” (v. 2).
(2) Jesus was welcomed and loved by the Galilean crowds but not by the
Jerusalem leaders.
(A) Many prominent men opposed Him, hated Him, and conspired against Him.
(B) This all took place according to what David had prophesied in Psalm 41:
“My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?’”
(v. 5)
“They imagine the worst for me” (v. 7).
(3) Psalm 41 could also see the Lord’s betrayer, Judas Iscariot, coming.
(A) The Psalm said in our Lord’s voice, and our Lord even quoted the psalm
on the night He was betrayed:
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his
heel against me” (v. 9; cf. John 13:18).
(4) Tonight’s Gospel brings us to the death of our Lord and to these
prophetic words from Psalm 41:
“But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(I) When the Scriptures speak about “lifting up,” or “raising up,” as they
do in this psalm, the first thing that often comes to mind is God’s
miraculous power of resurrection, by which He makes that was once dead to
be alive again.
(A) Thus it is written in an earlier psalm, Psalm 40:
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my
feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2).
(1) To this Paul added:
“[God] raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places”
(Ephesians 2:6).
(B) Sometimes when the Scriptures speak about “raising up,” they are NOT
talking about life, but they are talking about death.
(1) In particular, “raising up” can be a reference to our Lord’s death on
His cross.
(2) Throughout John’s Gospel, for example, Jesus repeatedly used “lifting
up” and “raising up” in reference to His cross and death.
(C) Jesus said in the third chapter of John:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man
be lifted up” (v. 14).
(1) Those words speak NOT about our Lord’s resurrection but, rather, His
death on the cross
(2) In the same way that the bronze serpent was raised up on a pole for the
healing of the rebellious people of Israel, so Jesus was likewise suspended
above the earth:
“for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
(D) Jesus said a similar thing in the eighth chapter of John:
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He”
(v. 28).
(1) There again, the “lifting up” or “raising up” of which our Lord spoke
was a reference to His crucifixion.
(2) This lifting was in keeping with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
He shall be high and lifted up. . . . His appearance was so marred, beyond
human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—so
shall He sprinkle many nations (Isaiah 52:13–15).
(E) What happened when the Lord Jesus was lifted up from the earth and
suspended upon His cross?

(1) Jesus explained in John chapter 12:
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,” He said, “will draw all people
to Myself” (v. 32), once again speaking about His death for the sins of the
(F) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to Me, and raise Me up.”
(1) Here in Psalm 41, as in those other passages, the reference to “raising
up” is not so much a reference to our Lord’s resurrection as it is to His
death on the cross.
(2) “Raise me up, that I may repay them.”
(II) For what purpose was our Lord therefore lifted up, according to this
psalm? “That I may repay them!” Repay whom? Here is an amazing thing: Jesus
wanted to be raised up on His cross in order to repay those who plotted
evil against Him; to repay those who spoke evil concerning Him; to repay
those who imagined the worst for Him and who said “in malice, ‘When will He
die, and His name perish?’” (v. 5).
(A) This is a strange way of speaking!
(1) The Lord our God has worked His vengeance against His enemies in a
manner that is totally unlike all the ways that we humans like to work our
(2) For example:
a) The kings of the world work their vengeance by sending out armies
against those who plot against them.
b) Saul required from David a terrible and weighty bride price, requiring
that it be cut from the Philistines,
“that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies” (1 Samuel 18:25).
c) When Jesus told His parable of the tenants, even His enemies knew that
the master of the house would be within his rights to
“put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other
tenants” (Matthew 21:41).
(B) Like all of the kings of the earth, you and I equally use revenge
against those who have wronged us.
(1) We want them to feel as miserable as we do.

(2) Even little children understand the idea of payback.
(3) Adults are more subtle when it comes to working out their revenge but
still with the same disastrous results.
(4) That is why we have such familiar sayings as:
a) “The sweet taste of revenge”
b) “Revenge is a dish best served cold”
c) and “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
(C) These sayings do not apply to the Lord our God!
(1) Where we humans prefer to work our vengeance in acts against others,
the Lord of hosts preferred to execute judgment against His Son.
(2) Our God was so adamant about cleansing the sin of the entire world, so
preoccupied with your salvation, that even the vengeance He sought against
His enemies was self-inflicted:
“But You, O Lord, . . . raise Me up that I may repay them!
(3) In answer to that prayer, God the Father lifted up His Son to death:
a) “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
(D) The death of Jesus our God was indeed divine vengeance over every
enemy—including death itself.
(1) The death of Jesus our God was therefore NOT the triumph of His enemies
over Him.
(2) When the soldiers at the cross saw the earthquake and what took place:
“they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”
(Matthew 27:54).
a) This happened in keeping with David’s prophecy in Psalm 41, written in
the voice of Jesus:
“By this I know that You delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph
over me.”
b) Even though the enemies of God enjoyed the sight of His death, their
enjoyment was but momentary, so eclipsed and devastated that momentary
victory was by the power of Christ’s resurrection.
(III) We must therefore be exceedingly careful—and mindfully faithful—when
we think of our enemies. Jesus died. All vengeance was worked by God upon
the cross. That is why our heavenly Father now graciously forbids us to
seek vengeance. Our acts of revenge are nothing less than denials of the
Christ and His death!
(A) You were joined by Baptism to the death of Christ, according to the
words of Paul:

“I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(1) Again, Paul also said:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).
(2) Thus, because Psalm 41 speaks about Jesus, it speaks likewise about
(3) Therefore, these words are your words:
a) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(B) What do those words mean when you and I pray them?
(1) They mean that we, along with Jesus, have already been raised up on the
a) We, like Jesus, already have our losses and injustices avenged in His
b) In the death of Christ, all vengeance has been worked by God.
c) When we therefore seek revenge upon our enemies, our desire for revenge
becomes a denial of the cross and a rejection of the atonement.
(2) That is why God has said:
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).
(3) That is why our Lord Jesus taught us:
“Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right
cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
(4) That is why the apostle Paul has added:
“The Lord is an avenger in all these things” (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
(C) Shall the Lord our God work vengeance for us on the Last Day, when
Christ Jesus our Lord returns to judge both the living and the dead?

(1) The answer is:
a) Yes, and Amen!
b) That is why there are Christian martyrs who, even now, plead with God
for His victorious return, that He might avenge their blood (Revelation


(A) We do NOT need to think of our Lord’s vengeance on the Last Day as
something separate from His cross.
(1) The Last Day, rather, is the culmination and the full flowering of that
which was completely worked for us upon the cross.
(2) The blood of God’s saints shall one day be avenged (Revelation 6:10)
because Jesus was raised up on the cross to work God’s vengeance.
The death of God’s saints is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15) because
Jesus of Nazareth “bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
(3) Every injustice you have suffered:
(A) along with every injustice you have ever perpetrated
(B) They all find their fulfillment and satisfaction in these words:
“O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) In the Name of the Father…Amen.