Our journey through the Gospel of Luke brings us to the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Yet, as Jesus neared his death, the Father put on a display of supernatural events that, combined with Jesus’ words and the testimony of those nearby, give reason to hope that his death was not the ultimate end. Instead, his last breath was, in the words of a famous saying, only “the end of the beginning.”
The hymns selected for this service focus on the eternal accomplishments of the death of Jesus: the end of sin’s dominion and forgiveness secured for us through Jesus’ death in our place.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Love Divine (Shevy)
Hymn His Robes for Mine
Note: How is it that God can forgive sinners like us? By faith, we are united with Christ. His righteousness is credited (imputed) to us and our sin was laid on him (imputed). Martin Luther called this a “marvelous exchange,” marking it as the grand core of gospel truth.
(Please note that the line in the chorus, “God estranged from God,” is a poetic expression of the mystery of the incarnation that emerges at the cross. Technically, God the Son was never estranged from God the Father).
Worship through Giving
Note: We sing with wonder the humbling words, “Our load was laid on him.” There is no greater display of the character of God—his holiness, righteousness, grace, and mercy—than Christ’s saving work on our behalf. Truly, our God is worthy of all worship. (We sing it to the tune CONSOLATION).
Scripture Reading Romans 3:9-26
Note: In Romans 3, the Bible declares that all people, both Jews and Gentiles stand guilty before God. No one can resolve this plight through good deeds or law-keeping. But God, himself, gives a righteousness that comes only through Christ’s work on the cross. We lay hold of this God-given righteousness only through faith.
Hymn 133 Hark! The Voice of Love and Mercy
Note: This hymn sets the words of Jesus, “It is finished,” alongside the supernatural signs that accompanied Jesus’ death. His words were not an expression of despair but of accomplishment and victory.
Message: The End of the Beginning
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn Here is Love
Note: In Luke 9:51, Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” We have followed him on that journey that ended at the cross. This hymn, written during the Scottish revival in the 19th century, declares that the cross displays God’s love most clearly. There, “the Prince of Life, our Ransom, shed for us his precious blood.” Now, we the church, “called by grace and saved by blood,” sing “Hallelujah to our God!.”
Choir It Is Finished (Hamilton)
Prayer Response: Bill Cunnien
Benediction: John Miles