After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Good Friday – it used to puzzle me how today could be considered good when we are remembering a painful and horrific death. Perhaps Jesus’ last words from the cross help provide the answer. ‘It is finished’ - was this a cry of desperation and defeat? I think not. This was the high point of Jesus ministry – he was born to live a perfect life and then to give to us the gift of life through his death. He was born to die.
As we read the gospels we see how Jesus was rejected, humiliated, beaten and crucified but his final words were not words of despair. I suspect that with all the resources that he had left he roared those 3 final words. ‘It is finished’ was a shout of victory. Here on the cross as Jesus died he defeated Satan and his armies of evil. He ushered in the Kingdom of God with renewed forcefulness. He opened the way to his heavenly Father and he provided the wonderful gift of eternal life to all who believe in him.
We still have to wait a few more days before we can celebrate his resurrection but today we can rest in the victory of the cross – Jesus’ work was finished but the life and hope that he brings was only just beginning. This is the day when God himself endured all the pain and suffering that the world could through at him so that we might go free, so that we might enjoy fullness of life, so that we might dance in his presence. This is a good day.
So often on Good Friday I turn to the words of an old hymn There is a green hill far away. Why not take time to listen to it as you reflect today. He died that we might be forgiven, he died that we might go to heaven, and he died because no one else could do that for us. ‘It is finished’. Life begins. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer Request: For those in our church family struggling with their mental health at this time. That they will know the love and support of others and experience God’s healing in their lives.