Good Friday is this Friday, April 14. Below is a “Good Friday” meditation for you and your family. God grant you a blessed Holy Week.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished,” and bowed His head and handed over the Spirit. (John 19:30)
On Good Friday the horror of sin is made manifest. Read John 19 aloud. Can you believe your ears! Were you listening carefully to the crucifixion account? The denial… lies… and betrayal… a crown of thorns… mockery… crucifixion… and death! Surely, this is the abomination of desolation! The Roman vultures are gathered around the corpse of the Son of Man! (Matt. 24:15, 28)
The events of Good Friday are repulsive… even sickening… Crucifixion must be rated R… Hearing the scourge of the Roman whip and the hammer blows on the nails surely causes you to wince… puts knots in your stomach… and drives even the most rigid and sober of men to tears.
For you with small children… what are you to make of the Gospel’s account of crucifixion? Some might shame for you letting your children listen to Holy Writ’s grim tale. But the Christian has Christ’s answer to this accusation… Jesus said, “When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32) “All men” includes men, women and children. Yes, even your children must hear that Jesus has been lifted up on the Cross and believe that it was for them!
“It is finished!” The Scriptures must be fulfilled. His heel must be bruised and Satan’s head must be crushed. (Genesis 3:15) “My God My God Why have you forsaken me?” MUST happen. (Ps 22:1) The Christ must be a worm and not a man. (Ps 22:6) His garments must be divided by casting lots. (Ps 22:18) It is given that Jesus must bear our griefs, carry our sorrows, be pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities. Upon Him should be given the chastisement that brings us peace and by His wounds we are healed. (Is 53:4-5)
“It is finished!” There was true humanity in those words; There was true humiliation in those words. There’s only so much abuse that a man’s body can take before it must succumb to death. But even then, death cannot have its way until God gives it permission. It was about 9:00 a.m. on that first Good Friday that Jesus was nailed to the cross. Sometime around 3:00 he said, “It is finished” and bowed His head and handed over the Spirit.
“It is finished!” Jesus was treated as less than a man; even as a worm. Poured out like water; all of his bones out of joint. His heart like wax and melted within His breast. His strength was dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue stuck to His jaws. For God, even God Himself laid His Son in the dust of death (Ps 22:14-15)… Not even the Father would interpose to save Him! It was the will of the Lord to crush Him! The Father, His only Father has put Him to grief. (Is 53:6) The Father offers up His Son, desiring your salvation – O Love, how strong you are to save! (LSB 438:3) Surely, He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted! (Is 53:4)
The horror of Christ crucified isn’t that we should feel sorry for Him or that we should burn with anger toward those who did this to Him. The truth is that your sin and mine can only be blotted out by the shedding of His blood. Yes, the Word is just: without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22)
“It is finished!” Those three words are one simple word in the Greek… tetelestai! Even an unbeliever can believe that “tetelestai” means, “I’m dead! I’m toast! My heart no longer beats!” But only those who hear the word of Christ and believe (Rom 10:17) know that “tetelestai” means more than that… it means, your sins have been atoned for!
The Lamb of God was wounded for your transgressions… he was crushed for your iniquities! It’s true! It’s really true! Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes you have been healed! God made Him who knew NO SIN TO BE YOUR SIN. (2 Cor 5:21) That’s grace! That’s tetelestai!
We who are heirs of the Christian faith have been blessed with the Truth that we are saved by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in CHRIST ALONE. Jesus takes this Truth and cries it into reality with one simple word… tetelestai… “it is finished.”
“It is finished”… means that the devil has been defeated by the Stronger Christ (Luke 11) God’s power is made perfect in what men considered weak. (2 Cor 12:9) “It is finished” means that God’s full anger, wrath and hatred of your sin HAS BEEN APPEASED forever. “It is finished” is the promise an empty tomb and resurrection joy. “It is finished” means that your OLD ADAM is impotent and that God desires the NEW MAN in you, born in your Baptism, to live before Him in righteousness and purity forever. (Rom 3) “It is finished” means that in His Holy Supper, you eat and drink His Body and Blood boldly proclaiming His Death until He returns. (1 Cor 11:26) “It is finished” is Christ’s sermon that proclaims that He has been delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Rom 4:25)
“It is finished.” God’s righteousness has been declared for every man, woman and child… No one is left out of “it is finished.” For you “it is finished.” You have been redeemed. You are justified.
Good Friday REALLY is Good.
In Christ, Pastor Kieser