Good Friday 2013: “It is finished.”

John 18:1-19:42

It is finished.  We have rejected Jesus, taken him through a mockery of a trial, spit on him, mocked him, and abandoned him on his cross to die.  It is finished.

(SING)

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?  [wait; give some silence]

Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?”  We know that we hung Truth on a cross, let Truth be crucified because we wanted it done.  Crucify him!  And we did.

God, you are so far from my cry, and from the words of my distress….

Pilate pleads with us – “I find no case against him,” and we insist on Jesus’ crucifixion.  We choose Jesus over an ancient-day terrorist named Barabbas.  Pilate releases Barabbas; Jesus is crucified.  In a terrible victory, we get what we ask for.

(SING) O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; by night as well, but I find no rest.

This is Good Friday, our darkest hour.  This is “Good Friday” because it is God’s Friday.  This is the Friday on which Jesus destroys death.  Do you believe that?  Can we understand that we no longer die?

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? 

Jesus did not die some generic death on a cross.  We like to hide behind those comforting words that “Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.”  He did, but there is more.  You killed him, I killed him, and we do it every day.  Remember?  Apathy, arrogance, pride, sloth, gossip … we know our sins.  We know those things that keep us from following Jesus:  there are things that we DO, and things that we leave left undone.

You and I did not engage ourselves in the victory of life over death.  There is no planning, no strategy, no work, no political pondering –there is nothing human – that can put together God’s triumph over evil, God’s triumph over death.  On Good Friday, know that Jesus died for you.  Jesus died for me.  Jesus died for each one of us and for all of us.  His death is our defeat, our unearned victory and the source of our salvation.  God loves us that much.  Death is finished.

We did not and do not know what to do with absolute Truth.  Not understanding love itself, we tried to kill it.  Such love cannot be killed or quenched.  We cannot repay such unbounded love.  So we say our daily prayers.  We talk to God, spend time listening for God to fill us in ways that we cannot imagine.  We are not worthy, and yet we are invited to holy times and places with Love and Truth.  Do not stay away.  Do not stay away too long.  Be with God, give thanks, give ourselves to God, and be filled.

We venerate, revere, the cross, not as a piece of wood, but as the precious gift from God through which we are given eternal life.  It is a gift.  We cannot thank God enough – we do not have enough words, enough money, enough – anything.  And so, in the words of the hymn, “since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee.”

We share in the body and blood of Christ today.  On this day we share in hope that we do not see.  Our visible reminders of Christ are cloaked in dark cloth.  Imagine every day in such darkness.  We are given hope once again in the presence of Christ, with us even in darkness, in death.  It is finished.

(SING)  My God, my God.

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