Good Friday

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty". A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

Have you ever wondered why we call it Good Friday? As Friday's go throughout history, this is probably one of our darkest. The God of Love showed up on earth, flesh and blood, living and breathing, in our midst. And on this particular Friday, we killed him. Not a gentle kind of killing either, one of the more brutal deaths humanity has ever dreamed up. And we call all of this "Good?"

There are those who would make us feel guilty today. I have heard countless preachers recount the brutality of the death Jesus suffered for us. I don't know if perhaps we hear how brutal the death Jesus died on our behalf was we will feel guilty? Almost like following Jesus because we feel bad for him? But the truth of the matter is that the Romans probably crucified hundreds of thousands of people over their history. The brutality of the death in question is not where our focus should be.

Instead I'm caught on the words "It is finished." Does Jesus mean by this his life, his breathing in and out humanity? Is that what is finished? Or, perhaps more strikingly, is he pointing to something bigger? Is he pointing to the separation between God and humanity, the sin-curse that for so long damaged the relationship we had with the lover of our soul? Because yes, so many had been crucified by the Romans. But this is the only God/man to take our sins upon himself, and die on our behalf. This is the only sacrifice that could possibly bring and end to the curse of sin. It is indeed finished.

But the story is not. Because while sin is powerful, it is not everlasting. While death is pervasive, it is not dominant. While Jesus is laid in the tomb for our sakes today, on Sunday we will gather here with song and shout and praise and dance to proclaim for all the world to hear that the tomb is empty. Death does not have the last word, Christ does. And he invites us all to share in his life with him!

He is risen my friends. He is risen indeed!

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