Monday, November 02, 2009

Anointed for Burial

In the sermon text today, Jesus is anointed for burial. There are a number of things going on in the passage, but it is worth noting that Jesus is anointed on His head like a King or a Priest for burial. Jesus’ coronation is for death; His ordination is for the purpose of dying. His duty is to die. We too are anointed in baptism, and Paul says that in baptism we are buried with Christ, we are joined to the likeness of His death. Our baptisms are also ordinations. When we are baptized, we are given the same calling as Jesus. We are called to take up our crosses and follow Him. We are ordained to die. The way to life is through the cross; the way to be a King is through dying. And we enact this in numerous ways in our worship every Lord’s Day. But one of the important ways we enact this is through the Confession of Sin. One of the most important ways you ought to think about this Confession of Sin is as a Confession of Faith. As we enter the house of the Lord, we confess that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and grace. We begin worship by dying. We begin worship by telling God and everyone else here that we are failures. This confession of sin is a corporate confession to God and to one another that we are all miserable sinners in need of grace. We come here as priests and kings, having been anointed in baptism and by the Spirit, and therefore we begin by dying to ourselves, by proclaiming that we are failures, we are broken, we are sinners who desperately need grace. And that is what the Church is; it’s a family of people who know that they are lost, know they are empty, they are sick and they are dying apart from the grace and mercy of God. But our hope is in the God of the resurrection, the God who declares the filthy clean. We confess that we are sinners, but we are also sinners whom God declares forgiven. And that declaration of forgiveness is always a call for faith. When we believe that God does in fact accept us, and that He accepts us sinners as righteous in Christ, when we believe that, forgiveness washes over us and we are given grace to forgive one another and to forgive all those who have trespassed against us.

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