The Sunday of the Passion 2016

Bible Text: Matthew 26:1-27:66 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2016

“Is it I?” Really, Judas? Did you seriously just ask that? You know it’s you. You’ve known since you pocketed the thirty pieces of silver! “Is it I?” Yeah, Judas. Of course it’s you. But you and I would ask it too. “Is it I?” Did I really do something so bad the Son of God had to die for it? Come on! That’s going a bit far. And even if you were right in the middle of doing something you know is wrong, is against God’s Word, you’d still ask, “Is it I? Am I really sinning?” Yes, it’s you! It’s me! It’s all of us! We are to blame. It’s our fault. It’s our sin. We betrayed and killed Jesus. The sad thing is what happens to Judas. He feels remorse. He feels guilt. He gives the money back. But the preachers don’t have any Good News for Judas. “What is that to us? See to it yourself!” Is it I? Am I it? Am I the answer to my own sin? And when the only person Judas can come up with is himself, there’s nothing there but despair. And he hangs himself.

Is it I? It is. Until Calvary. Then it’s He. Then it’s Jesus. On the cross, it’s not you, it’s He. Not your sins but His. Not your hating God but His. Not your hating your neighbor but His. Not your despsing God’s Word or dishonoring your parents or killing or lusting or stealing or gossiping or coveting. His. Is it I? Not on Good Friday. On Good Friday your “It’s me” becomes “It’s Jesus.” There He who knew no sin was made to be sin for you so that in Him you would be the righteousness of God. It is Judas who betrays Jesus. It is Peter who denies Him. It is the rest who all run away. It is you, who by your sins may as well have pounded in the nails with your own hands. But there, on the cross, it all has become His. His to suffer for His to die for. His to forgive in you.

So all of this comes down to your life like this. Is it I? Is it you? Sins? Yes. Mine. Yours. That’s a good confession. Sins. That’s me! Is it I? It is indeed! But forgiveness? Is it Jesus? Yes, Him. For that. You, the sins. Him the forgiveness of those sins because He made them yours. Child of God? Is it I? Baptism says, “Yes, it’s you. Child of God.” Is it I? Confession says, “Yep, it is I. Sinner.” Absolution says, “But then it was His and now forgiveness is yours. Forgiven. That’s you.” Is it I? Your sinful flesh, yes. The sinless body and blood of the Son of God, however takes away your sins. Is it I who will rise from the dead? The body and blood of Jesus say, “Yes. You. Raised on the Last Day.” That’s because you have what Judas didn’t hear: the Good News. That all that makes you the betrayer and denier and murdere of Jesus has been forgiven forever and in their place bestowed live and salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.