Sermon Transcript – Mishearing Jesus

Series B – Fourth Wednesday in Lent – Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:28the gospel text for our evening’s
0:30meditation is taken from the gospel of
0:32matthew chapter 27.
0:35now from the sixth hour there was
0:37darkness over all the land
0:39until the ninth hour and about the ninth
0:41hour
0:42Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying
0:45eli eli lama that is
0:49my god my god why have you forsaken me
0:53and some of the bystanders hearing it
0:55said this man is calling elijah
0:58and one of them at once ran and took a
1:00sponge filled it with sour wine put it
1:02on a reed and gave it to him to drink
1:04but the other said wait let us see
1:06whether elijah will come to save him
1:09and then Jesus cried out again with a
1:11loud voice
1:13and yielded up his spirit in the name of
1:15Jesus
1:18there’s Christ on the cross and he cries
1:21out
1:22in hebrew very clear hebrew
1:25the first sentence first part of
1:29psalm 22 verse 1
1:32eli eli lamba bhaktani my god my god
1:36why have you forsaken me now have you
1:39ever heard
1:40anybody say something and then you’ve
1:42misheard it
1:43maybe embarrassingly so yeah i think
1:46back to when i was a kid my dad used to
1:48tell a story this is my biological
1:50father he was a
1:51police officer worked for the baldwin
1:53park police department
1:54when i was a kid and he tells a story
1:56that he was required
1:58one day to actually go and witness an
2:01autopsy which sounds horrifying i just
2:05did
2:06all right but he tells the story this
2:08way and i remember hearing it like when
2:10i was a kid
2:11that when he was there the uh the
2:14coroner opened up the chest of the
2:15fellow that they were doing the autopsy
2:18on
2:18and my dad took a look at the lungs of
2:20the fellow and they were
2:22as black as asphalt that’s how he
2:24described them
2:25and so my father said what’s wrong with
2:27this man’s lungs and he said oh
2:29yeah he’s he’s a smoker and while at the
2:32time my dad was a smoker
2:34and so my dad tells us the story then
2:36that he quit smoking
2:38cold turkey that day well when i heard
2:41that
2:41him telling this to somebody i had no
2:44idea what the phrase cold turkey meant
2:46and i was rather confused by it i’m
2:48thinking what did cold turkeys have to
2:50do with smoking or
2:52i don’t understand what the connection
2:54is my dad didn’t smoke cold turkeys he
2:57smoked marlboros
2:58you know and my grandma she was a
3:00camel’s lady you know
3:01so i didn’t understand what was going on
3:03and eventually i ended up in kind of
3:05embarrassingly
3:06having to ask my mother what the cold
3:08turkeys were all about
3:10and she laughed when she heard it and
3:12then i think about when my wife and i
3:13were first married
3:14and we lived in seattle up on capitol
3:16hill and there was the
3:18radio you know commercials that would
3:20come on from time to time you know
3:21remember the days when they would write
3:23jingles i don’t really listen to the
3:24radio anymore do they write jingles
3:25anymore
3:26well it was a local fish food seafood
3:30restaurant that every now and then they
3:32would get a supply
3:33of like king crabs and king crab legs
3:36and so in the jingle they were singing
3:39about how they had crab legs and
3:41and the way the refrain went was we have
3:43crab legs we have crab legs and it was
3:46supposed to be a joyous thing
3:47well my wife misheard it and she said to
3:50me one day
3:51why do they keep talking about how much
3:53traffic they have
3:54and i said traffic what are you talking
3:58about well they’re singing we have
4:00traffic we have traffic why would i want
4:02to go there
4:03and so you’ll if you think back in your
4:05memories you probably have stories akin
4:08to this
4:08but in our gospel text tonight in our
4:11meditation
4:12here we have probably one of the most
4:15boneheaded
4:16misheard statements of all time
4:20there Christ is languishing suffering
4:23bleeding dying for your sins and mine
4:27and he quotes in perfect hebrew the
4:30opening portion of
4:31psalm 22 and the bystanders
4:35although they are jewish have no clue
4:38that he’s
4:39quoting the scriptures and they hear him
4:42crying out
4:43and they think he’s calling for elijah
4:46and based upon their reaction they’re
4:49thinking
4:50whoa wait let’s see if elijah comes to
4:52save him
4:54they’re thinking that Christ is calling
4:56and decreeing and declaring
4:58for elijah to show up and pull off one
5:00of the greatest escape acts of all time
5:03this
5:03houdini would have been jealous to have
5:05something like this happen
5:06and so they’re expecting elijah’s gonna
5:08show up he’s going to rip him down from
5:09the cross
5:10and Christ is going to go
5:15it’s surreal when you think about it
5:19it kind of gives off the impression that
5:23Christ’s suffering
5:26here is completely subject to almost
5:28circus
5:29like and i mean this circus
5:33like attraction type of gawking
5:37but while all of this is going on
5:41and they’ve misheard the words of Christ
5:45something so important is happening and
5:48we in our sin
5:51are practically missing it and so i
5:55love the fact that here in psalm 22
5:59have you noticed that psalm 22
6:02is written from a first person
6:05perspective
6:08while they’re expecting elijah to show
6:11up
6:11and pull off a houdini trick
6:14it’s almost as if what we’re hearing
6:17here is the inner dialogue of what’s
6:19going on inside
6:20of the mind of Christ
6:23and so here again psalm 22 my god
6:26my god why have you forsaken me that’s
6:30what Christ
6:30cried out and that’s what it the eli
6:33elia lama
6:34that’s what it says in the hebrew one of
6:36my seminary profs
6:38musing on this text one year he he said
6:40i wonder if Jesus spoke it or if he sang
6:43it
6:44because the psalms back then had tunes
6:47to them
6:48you know they and maybe that’s the
6:49reason they didn’t understand what he
6:50was saying because he spoke it rather
6:52than saying it because if they’d sung it
6:54maybe they would have known what the
6:55tune was
6:57but it goes on why are you so far from
6:59saving me
7:00from the words of my groaning oh my god
7:03i cry by day but you do not answer and
7:05by night
7:07but i find no rest
7:10and you’ll note the my god my god why
7:13have you forsaken me
7:15theologians call this the cry of
7:17dereliction
7:20cry of dereliction i think a good way to
7:22think about it is that if we were to
7:24consider Christ’s
7:25sufferings in two different domains if
7:28you would
7:29two different ways of looking at it
7:31there is the physicality of bleeding and
7:33suffering and dying on the cross
7:35and don’t think for a second
7:38that that was an easy thing to do
7:42the word excruciating that we use in our
7:45english language comes from the word
7:48to crucify in fact the romans
7:51practically perfected a a torturous
7:55ending for people that guaranteed that
7:58every
7:59single moment that a victim was on the
8:02cross
8:03as they were dying that they were
8:06intensely
8:08intensely feeling pain and agony
8:12and you know think about the prep that
8:14Christ went through in order to be
8:15crucified
8:17not only was he beaten but he was
8:19flogged which means he had his skin
8:21opened up on his back and he was
8:22bleeding profusely
8:24punched in the face beaten i mean isaiah
8:27describes that he’s marred beyond all
8:29semblance
8:31and so what they do is they nailed
8:33Christ to the cross
8:34drove the nails through his wrist that’s
8:37really what would have happened the
8:38the finger the hands don’t have enough
8:40strength to have it there so
8:42all the artistic depictions of Christ
8:44being nailed to the cross through
8:46through his palms that wouldn’t have
8:47worked the ligaments would have torn
8:50because what’s necessary then
8:52is that the victims on the cross in
8:55order to breathe when you’re impaled
8:57like that
8:58you have to pull yourself up high enough
9:01that your diaphragm
9:02can loosen up so that you can actually
9:04take a breath
9:06and so between the radius and the ulna
9:08you’ve got the you’ve got the
9:09you’ve got the spike there and there’s a
9:11nerve
9:12they go have you ever hit your funny
9:14bone and this one ah
9:16so every breath that Christ would take
9:19he would have to rotate
9:21against the nail pull himself
9:24up and experience that agonizing buzzing
9:28feeling that we get when we hit our
9:30funny bone
9:31shooting all the way up his arms and of
9:34course you’ve got
9:35the rugged part of the cross behind him
9:37so every single
9:38breath is excruciating
9:43that’s the suffering that we’re talking
9:45about here
9:47but we’ll note that there are plenty of
9:49human beings who have experienced that
9:50kind of death
9:52and those who would mock and scorn
9:57the sacrifice of Christ all too joyfully
10:01point that out as if somehow
10:03it’s not enough that his suffering
10:06physically while other people have done
10:08it
10:09and this is where the cry of dereliction
10:11comes into place
10:13and you’ll note that with the sun
10:15darkened
10:16moon can’t even give its light
10:20the earth itself is going to shake and
10:22quake when Christ
10:24gives up his spirit but the big
10:28suffering here is the separation from
10:30god the father
10:33god made him to be sin
10:36scripture says your sin
10:40my sin and so the cry of dereliction
10:43reveals to us
10:45that in the midst of all of this Christ
10:47truly taking our sins upon himself
10:50that now the face of the father has
10:52turned away from the son
10:55and this is the greatest agony that
10:58Christ is going through now
11:04my god i cry to you by day but you do
11:06not answer
11:07and by night but i find no rest
11:10and as you’re reading psalm 22 here
11:14if this is really a depiction of
11:15Christ’s inner dialogue and i really am
11:17begin
11:18becoming convinced that it is you have
11:21to kind of throw into the mix
11:23with each of these thoughts Christ is
11:26pulling himself
11:27up taking in a breath
11:30letting himself down
11:33taking a you know exhaling coming back
11:36up
11:37taking a breath there’s a rhythm to it
11:41and in the midst of this god the father
11:44having turned his
11:45face away from the son the son then says
11:48yet you are holy
11:50you are enthroned on the praises of
11:51israel at no point does Christ’s
11:54faith in the father flag
11:58in you our fathers trusted they trusted
12:00and you delivered them to you they cried
12:02and they were rescued in you they
12:04trusted and they were not put to shame
12:06but i am a worm and not a man scorned by
12:09mankind
12:10and despised by the people all who see
12:12me mock me they make mouths at me
12:14they wag their heads he trusts in the
12:17lord let him deliver him let him rescue
12:19him
12:20for he delights in him and you’re going
12:22to note here that with
12:24graphic detail explicit detail
12:29things that Christ could have had no
12:30control over
12:32at least in a human way of speaking
12:35it is all recorded here
12:39hundreds nearly a thousand years before
12:41Christ
12:42was conceived in the womb of the virgin
12:44mary
12:47so he’s describing from a first-person
12:50perspective
12:52how they’re wagging their heads at him
12:55in fact the very words that they are
12:56using to mock him he trusts in the lord
12:58let the lord deliver him
13:00let him rescue him for he delights in
13:02him
13:03and now back to the inner dialogue and
13:05you have to take a breath
13:08yet you are he who took me from the womb
13:11and you made me trust you at my mother’s
13:13breasts
13:15on you i was cast from my birth and from
13:18my mother’s womb you have been my god
13:21be not far from me for trouble is near
13:24and there is none to help many bulls
13:28encompass me strong bowls of bashan
13:30surround me they open
13:31wide their mouths at me like ravening
13:34and roaring lion
13:36and poured out like water and all my
13:38bones are out of joint
13:40my heart is like wax it is melted
13:44within my breast my strength is dried up
13:47like a pot shirt and my tongue
13:49sticks to my jaws and you lay me in the
13:53dust of death
13:54dogs encompass me a couple of company of
13:57evildoers encircles me they’ve
13:59pierced my hands and my feet
14:02i can count all my bones they stare
14:06and they gloat over me they divide my
14:09garments among them and for my clothing
14:11they cast
14:11lots have you ever stopped to think why
14:14are these not part of the red letters
14:19they should be but you o lord do not be
14:23far
14:23off o you my help come quickly to my aid
14:27deliver my soul from the sword my
14:29precious life and the power of the dog
14:32save me from the mouth of the lion you
14:34have rescued me from the horns of the
14:36wild oxen
14:37and then i will tell of your name to my
14:39brothers in the midst of the
14:41congregation i will praise you you who
14:44fear the lord praise him
14:45all you offspring of jacob glorify him
14:48and stand in awe of him
14:49all you offspring of israel
14:53so what does it all mean it’s a little
14:56portion of the agony of Christ
14:59luther in writing on the sufferings of
15:02Jesus
15:04in his apostles talks about the
15:06importance of
15:07rightly meditating on the sufferings of
15:09Christ
15:10if you were to merely look at them as
15:12some kind of an example to follow in
15:13your own life you know
15:15when you’re having trouble or whatever
15:17then you’re going to note that following
15:19the example of Christ will not give you
15:21comfort
15:22because each and every one of us we know
15:24firsthand that our sin
15:26is well damnable and when we hear the
15:31law of god
15:31preached when the law of god does its
15:35work
15:35well over and over again we are
15:39made to feel guilty our hearts are
15:41pricked
15:42and you’ll note that when god’s law does
15:45its condemning
15:46work you have to find
15:49some way some way to find
15:52some peace on some comfort but you’ll
15:55never find it from the law
15:57the law cannot comfort you but the
16:00sufferings of Christ
16:01can when you recognize that what is
16:04happening here
16:06in the midst of this like circus-like
16:10environment people expecting Jesus to do
16:12a magic trick
16:13and have elijah come and rescue him and
16:16free him so that he can take a bow
16:18like houdini in the midst of all of this
16:20what was really going on
16:21here was that Christ was forsaken
16:27so that we would never be as we deserve
16:31and when we see the agony that he’s
16:33going through and we hear the inner
16:35dialogue
16:36from psalm 22 then you’re going to note
16:39that sin begins to lose its luster
16:43sin begins to not look so
16:46fun anymore when we consider the
16:50magnitude of the suffering that Christ
16:51had to go through including
16:54the very father himself turning his face
16:57away from Christ
16:59my god my god why have you forsaken me
17:02and so luther rightly points out that
17:05when we rightly see that here
17:07what is happening is is that Christ is
17:09suffering
17:10in our place that he’s bleeding and
17:12dying
17:13taking on the wrath of god and being
17:16forsaken
17:17because that’s exactly what your sin and
17:19mind demands
17:21be the penalty but that he did it for us
17:24did it in our place
17:25did it so that we can live this then is
17:28the thing that we can put against
17:30the guilt that we feel when we
17:34consider our own sin when we hear the
17:37law of god condemning us
17:39and saying that those who do such things
17:42do not have eternal life and you say
17:46yeah but
17:47what about me i’ve done such
17:51things then know that Christ’s bled
17:54died here forsaken so that you would be
17:58adopted
18:00abandoned so that you wouldn’t be
18:04and that’s the whole point and you miss
18:06it if you
18:07are distracted by the yahoos who can’t
18:10even hear correctly what Jesus
18:12is saying you don’t even know their
18:14bible well enough to know that he was
18:16quoting
18:17the psalm and so
18:20as we consider our meditation here the
18:23misheard
18:24words of Jesus don’t let that distract
18:27you
18:28come back and let you hear his words
18:31rightly so that then you can think along
18:34with Jesus
18:36and hear his inner dialogue that is
18:38recorded for us
18:40in the passage that should be full of
18:42red letters because
18:44these are the thoughts of Christ himself
18:46the words that he spoke from the cross
18:49written from a perspective of the one
18:51who was suffering bleeding and dying for
18:53you
18:53and although he was made to be sin and
18:56god laid on him the iniquity of us
18:58all you’ll note that in the midst of all
19:00of this Christ
19:02never despaired of the faithfulness of
19:04god
19:05and that god would rescue him and that
19:08god would vindicate him
19:10and because Christ has done all of these
19:12things
19:13god is faithful to forgive us our sins
19:16to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
19:19it is the glory of god
19:21to pardon our iniquities all because of
19:24what Christ
19:25has done for us in our place in the name
19:28of Jesus
19:30amen
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