Lent #7: It is Friday, Good Friday
They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. — Matthew 27:33-37
It was Friday. Now came the time for the clash between good and evil, heaven and hell. The crucifixion of Jesus is both the worst moment in all human history, and the reality of humanity’s only hope. That’s why we call the Friday before Easter, Good Friday.
It was Friday. Jesus’ followers were still too weak to understand, and so they ran. The religious elite carried out their wicked plans. The political leaders passed the buck, and in the end, they discarded Jesus for the sake of convenience. The crowds gawked.
It was Friday. Two thieves hung on either side of a man whose crime was hard to comprehend. The placard above his head announced with a degree of sarcasm: “King of the Jews.” That must have attracted some attention. We know of seven things Jesus said from that cross, including a pronouncement of forgiveness for the soldiers, provision for the care of his mother, and a plea for something to wet his parched mouth. But the last words on that last day of his natural human life were the most important: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That was not a cry of resignation, nor capitulation or surrender. It was a shout of victory that all that God had planned for the restoration of sinful human beings was now accomplished. Now there could be justification! Redemption! Reconciliation! Salvation! All that needed to be done for the debt and wound of sin had been done. Forgiveness was now free.
It was Friday. All that remained was for Jesus to step out from the shadow of death, which he would easily do after a few days. But first, the disciples had time to search their hearts for how something good could be found in something so bad. And the enemies of God disappeared into the darkness of their own duplicity.
But that was Friday… Sunday was coming!