A Fountain of Cleansing (Zechariah 13:1-2) – Good Friday 2024

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A Fountain of Cleansing
Good Friday, March 29th, 2024
Christ Covenant Church – Centralia, WA

John 19:33-37
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Zechariah 13:1-2
In that day there shall be a fountain opened
To the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
For sin and for uncleanness.
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts,
That I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land,
And they shall no more be remembered:
And also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

Prayer

Father, we thank you for this Friday we call Good, because on it, Your most good and beloved Son laid down his life, so that he might take it up again. We praise you for the infinite wisdom that is Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, but unto us who are called, whether Jew or Gentile, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men. May we become fools for Christ’s sake, and join him in his death and resurrection, for it is in His name we pray, and Amen.

Return To Eden

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in the Garden of Eden? Do you have a picture in your imagination of what our parents’ first home was like?

  • We read in Genesis 2, that “the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden…And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
    • In our parents’ first home, there were trees for food, and trees just for looking at (for beauty). And in the very center of that garden was the tree of life and next to it the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life was for food, they could eat from it. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they could only look at.
  • We read on in verse 10 of Genesis 2, that “ariver went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became four riverheads.”
    • Notice, Eden is the larger region, the Garden is in the east with all these trees. And then there is a river that springs forth outside the garden, and when it gets to the garden, there it divides into four riverheads that flow down the mountain to places of gold, bdellium, and onyx stone.
    • We are given more details about Eden in Ezekiel 28, where God says to the king of Tyre, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold…You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones…”
  • So the picture of Eden that Scripture paints for us is that of a Garden that is situated on the top of a mountain (“the holy mountain of God”). There are precious and fiery stones. There are beautiful trees. There is an abundance of delicious fruit. There is the aroma of a newborn world. And it is that mountain top where heaven meets earth. It is the place where as it says in Genesis 3:8, you could hear “the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
    • And it is from the heights of this holy mountain that a river flowed down to water the world, “a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen. 2:10).
  • This is the paradise that our first parents chose to forsake. Eve was deceived by the voice of the serpent, Adam heeded the voice of his wife, and because they did not heed the voice of the Lord, they were banished from that garden on penalty of death.
    • It says in Genesis 3:23, “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way of the tree of life.”
  • The Apostle Paul says that all of have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He says also that the wages and reward for our sin is death. So there is a part of our human nature that remembers and knows that something is wrong with us. There comes a time in our life when we realize that this life is toilsome, this life is fleeting, and yet I don’t want to die. I want to live and I want to live forever in paradise. This is a universal desire that is embedded in our nature as descendants of Adam and Eve.
  • And so the story of Scripture, and the story of human history, is the story of God showing man the way back into the Garden of Eden. And what we are celebrating and remembering tonight is the means by which God has made that return to Eden possible. Jesus Christ calls himself “The Way,” because through him we can once again ascend the holy mountain, in Christ we can pass through that flaming sword of the cherubim and live. Through Jesus we can walk with God in the garden in the cool of the day. That is what Good Friday is all about.

We heard in the reading from John’s gospel, that when Jesus hung dead upon the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side. And what came out of the dead body of Jesus resting upon that tree? Blood and water. Blood that atones for our sins. And water that washes those sins away. It is from the dead body of Jesus, who was nailed to a tree, that a fountain of cleansing is opened for humanity.

  • In John 19:35-37, after this pouring forth of blood and water from Jesus’ side, it says, “And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
    • So John, speaking of this piercing of Christ’s side, quotes from Zechariah 12:10, and in the original context of Zechariah 12, God is the one who is speaking and God is the one who says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, The spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.”
    • So 500 years before Christ, we have this prophesy from the mouth of God, wherein God himself says, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.”
    • And so when John looks at Jesus, with his side pierced, and blood and water pouring forth from it, he recalls this prophesy from Zechariah, and he recognizes that this Jesus is no mere man, this Jesus is the God who said that “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” Jesus upon the cross is how God can die. Jesus upon the cross is how the Garden can be opened again.
  • If you read just a few verses later in Zechariah (which I am sure John knew), you come to Zechariah 13:1 which says, “In that day (referring to the day of God being pierced) there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”
    • In other words, when that Roman soldier pierced the son of God, he was opening up for the whole world a fountain of salvation. A fountain for sin and for uncleanness.
    • What was God revealing as blood and water gushed from Jesus’ side? He was bearing witness that the heart of God bursts to cleanse you. He was testifying to the whole world that His is a love that is stronger than death. And that though his body was lifeless and dead upon that tree, because Jesus is divine, His divinity can give life even through death. So it is certain what the Apostle says, “Nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). This is what blood and water bear witness to.

Conclusion

It has been the long tradition of the church to see in Jesus upon the cross, a picture of Adam sleeping in Eden. And just as God cut Adam open, and formed Eve from his side, so also from Christ’s side, the new Eve, the church who is the mother of all the living, was formed.

  • How does God turn a sinner into a saint? Through blood and water. Through atonement and cleansing. Through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
  • Jesus Christ is the river that flows out of Eden. Jesus is the one who comes to the Garden, and then pours down the holy mountain out to the four corners of the earth.
  • Jesus Christ is how the knowledge of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14).
  • For it was Jesus Christ himself who said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
  • If you want to return to the Garden again. If you want to live with God forever in paradise. Then look to Christ crucified. Look at God hanging upon a tree, with his side torn open, and a blood and water pouring forth to cleanse you. This is what Good Friday is all about.
  • In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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