Ephesians 1:7- “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us…”
Today is Good Friday,and to be honest I used to cringe when I said that term. Good Friday, how could it be good when it was one of the darkest, if not the darkest day in history. It is painful to say Good Friday, yet that is precisely what it is. It is good, not because of the horror of crucifixion, but because of what Jesus accomplished for us through His crucifixion. It is good because of what Paul says in Ephesians, “In Jesus we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,…..” It is good because without the cross we are still in our sins and not forgiven. It is good because without the cross we are still enslaved to sin, to death, and ultimately to hell. That is why we call it Good Friday, but still when you consider the horror of crucifixion those are hard words to say.
Jesus made many statements as He hung on the cross:
*Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing
*Woman behold your son, and to John the disciple, behold your mother
*Today you will be with me in paradise
*My God, my God why have you forsaken me
*It is Finished
*Father into Your hands I commit my Spirit
No greater words have ever been spoken, for as He spoke those words He spoke them for us, and because of that they become transformational words to us. As the hymn says, “beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.” And that is truly what they are, words of life to us, words that significantly and eternally change our lives today.
As Jesus uttered “Father forgive them….” He gives us a courageous example of forgiveness. He is forgiving those very people who are crucifying Him, the ones who are putting the nails in His hands and feet, the ones who have mocked Him and humiliated them. He is showing us that we as His followers should be forgiving as well. But even more than that He is showing us that we need to be forgiven, and that regardless of our sins, we can be forgiven through His blood.
As He said, “woman behold your son….”, He is showing us the importance of the family. He is demonstrating to us how we are to love one another, and He is fulfilling His duty as a son. As He looked at the cross and said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”, He was declaring that we have hope beyond this life but that that hope doesn’t come from our own works or religious actions, after all the thief on the cross had none. What He is saying and demonstrating is that salvation and eternal life are only possible through the grace of God, grace that Paul says, God lavished on us. Truly He did on the cross.
He also thirsted and in taking the drink offered to Him hydrated Himself and prolonged His own agony, torture and death. Why? Because He had to take the full cup of the wrath of God. He had to be the propitiation, which means Jesus took the full wrath of God in my place.
During the darkest moment on the cross He cried out, My God, My God why have you forsaken me? And God the Father had truly turned His back on Him. Habakkuk says God is too holy to look on sin, and Paul says, “Jesus became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus became sin and God the Father turned away, He was ultimately forsaken so that you and I will never have to be.
And then the cry of It is Finished. Not a cry of defeat, but a cry of victory. The forsakenness of the Father was complete, the plan of salvation was accomplished, it truly was and is finished.
And then Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit. Jesus died as He lived, 100% devoted and committed to God. Today is a day to be thankful, as one of my friends said, “it is thankful Friday”, and that it is, but it is also Good Friday. Good because without it we are still lost, hopeless, unloved, and under the wrath of God. The c