Good Friday

John 19:28-30 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The day arrived. The day that the final sacrifice would be paid. The day that the blood of the sacrificial Lamb was shed. The day of the cross. I urge you to read all of John chapter 19 as well as the other gospels that share the crucifixion story. Read it and feel the emotions as hot tears well up in the eyes as we recall the suffering that our Savior endured for us. We know the story well. We’ve heard it so many times, and sometimes, I fear that the repetition of it dulls our senses to the reality of the horrific pain and suffering that occurred on the day that we all call “Good Friday.”

Jesus was taken as prisoner and brought before the Jewish religious leaders and then before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate questioned Him but could not find Jesus guilty. Yet, the Jewish people had Him sentenced to death on the cross. The crucifixion is probably the worst form of a death sentence. It isn’t a quick, painless injection on death row. No, this form of death sentence was marked by great suffering…and time…it wasn’t quick and painless by any means. Jesus was flogged. He was beaten. His skin was torn. A crown of thorns pressed into his head. But the torture didn’t stop there. He was nailed to the cross. NAILED. I can not even comprehend the amount of pain that He endure that day.

So, what was so good about that day? Jesus knew exactly what He was doing and why. He knew that He had to take on the cross as a sacrifice for you and I. He knew that He had to be the propitiation, the payment, for our sins so that we could be made right with the Father. He knew that He had to be the final sacrificial Lamb. He knew. He endured agonizing pain and torture, and He knew it was going to happen. He could have made it stop. He could have run away. He could have escaped. He is Lord of all after all. It was a good day because our Lord and Savior saved us that day because He knew us…

He knew that we needed a Savior. He knew that we would sin. He knew that we needed a plan for salvation. He knew me, and He knew you over 2000 years ago, He knew. He knew that our world would be falling apart around us. He knew that we would suffer tragedies. He knew that marriages would end in divorce. He knew our grown children would walk away from the faith. He knew we would lose jobs. He knew we would have financial struggles. He knew we would have loss. He knew we would feel alone…and sad…and lost, oh so lost! He knew… Yes, He knew we needed Him more than anything else in this whole wide world. He knew, and because He knew us, He willingly suffered and died on that cross. There has never been, nor ever will be, a greater act of love. He knew…

But the story didn’t end there. Sunday is coming….

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