The Tree Of Life To The Cross

The Tree Of Life To The Cross

Sermon For Lent Midweek Four

Rev. Greg Mech | Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | Lent Midweek Four | 4:00 pm

Midweek Vespers 4 – Tree to Tree: The Tree of Life to the Cross

As We Gather

God created man, and man began his journey in the Garden of Eden. In the midst of that garden were two trees more beautiful than the rest. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life—what joy for man to come to these trees and worship, giving thanks to God for His good and gracious gifts. But one day there was an unwelcome visitor to their worship service—Satan. He had things to say, wise things to share with man. They were lies, but man followed. Sin came, and Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden and from the tree of life. How they longed to return to the garden and the beautiful tree, and God promised that He would lead the way. Jesus Christ leads us from one garden to the next and from one tree to the tree of life in the courts of heaven. It was a hard and treacherous journey for our Leader, and it required a stop at another tree, the cross. But the evil Satan, who used a tree to bring sin into world, was conquered by another tree, and our sin was washed away.

L O Lord, open my lips,
C and my mouth will declare Your praise.
L Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
C make haste to help me, O Lord.
C Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Praise to You, O Christ, Lamb of our salvation.

PSALM 25 (Tone G)

1 To You, | O Lord,*

I lift | up my soul.

2 O my God, in You I trust; let me not be | put to shame;*

let not my enemies exult | over me.

3 Indeed, none who wait for You shall be | put to shame;*

they shall be ashamed who are wantonly | treacherous.

4 Make me to know Your ways, | O Lord;*

teach me | Your paths.

5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my sal- | vation;*

for You I wait all the | day long.

6 Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your | steadfast love,*

for they have been | from of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my trans- | gressions;*

according to Your steadfast love remember me,

for the sake of Your goodness, | O Lord!

8 Good and upright | is the Lord;*

therefore He instructs sinners | in the way.

9 He leads the humble in | what is right,*

and teaches the humble | his way.

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and | faithfulness,*

for those who keep His covenant and His testi- | monies.

11 For Your name’s sake, | O Lord,*

pardon my guilt, for | it is great.

12 Who is the man who | fears the Lord?*

Him will He instruct in the way that | He should choose.

13 His soul shall abide in well- | being,*

and his offspring shall inher- | it the land.

14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who | fear Him,*

and He makes known to them His | covenant.

15 My eyes are ever | toward the Lord,*

for He will pluck my feet out | of the net.

16 Turn to me and be gra- | cious to me,*

for I am lonely and af- | flicted.

17 The troubles of my heart | are enlarged;*

bring me out of my dis- | tresses.

18 Consider my affliction and my | trouble,*

and forgive | all my sins.

19 Consider how many | are my foes,*

and with what violent hatred they | hate me.

20 Oh, guard my soul, and de- | liver me!*

Let me not be put to shame,  for I take ref- | uge in You.

21 May integrity and uprightness pre- | serve me,*

for I | wait for You.

22 Redeem Israel, | O God,*

out of all his | troubles.

Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*

and to the Holy | Spirit;

as it was in the be- | ginning,*

is now, and will be forever. | Amen.

OFFICE HYMN “We Are Exiles from the Garden”

Text: Lisa M. Clark  Tune: JEFFERSON


We are exiles from the garden, Banished by our sinful choice,

Terrified to seek His pardon,  Hiding from our Father’s voice.

Underneath the branches swaying, Sweat and blood fall to the ground.

In the darkness, Christ is praying; He comes forward to be bound.


Leaves will fail our vain concealing Our true nakedness and shame.

We must rend our hearts, revealing All our guilt and sinful blame.

Jesus takes our flesh and sentence As His clothes are claimed below.

We fall down in true repentance; His new robe He will bestow.


On the mount, the Lord is waiting For the proper sacrifice.

What is worth His wrath abating? Who could pay the dreadful price?

God the Son will be the scion. God the Father will provide.

God the Spirit points to Zion; There, with God, we will abide.


On this journey we are taking, We fear not what lies in store.

Though our feeble wills are breaking, We know Christ has gone before.

As we walk the way completed, On His throne, the Savior waits.

Death and hell have been unseated. We behold the open gates!


© 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


+ Readings +

OLD TESTAMENT Genesis 2:15; 3:22–24

2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

L O Lord, have mercy on us.

C Thanks be to God.

EPISTLE 1 Peter 2:21–25

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. 23 When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. 24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

L O Lord, have mercy on us.

C Thanks be to God.

HOLY GOSPEL John 3:14–15

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.

L O Lord, have mercy on us.

C Thanks be to God.


L Deliver me, O Lord, my God, for You are the God of my salvation.

C Rescue me from my enemies, protect me from those who rise against me.

L In You, O Lord, do I put my trust, leave me not, O Lord, my God.

C Deliver me, O Lord, my God, for You are the God of my salvation.


L Let my prayer rise before You as incense,

C and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.


L My soul magnifies the Lord,

C and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior; for He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden.

L For behold, from this day all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things to me, and holy is His name;

C and His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.

L He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly.

C He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away.

L He has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

C Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.


L Let my prayer rise before You as incense,

C and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.


+ Prayer +


C Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.


L Let us bless the Lord.

C Thanks be to God.


P The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

C Amen.

HYMN “Upon the Cross Extended”

(LSB 453, verses 1, 5, 6, 7)


Vespers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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