Friday, April 14, 2017
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Good Friday has always been hard on my tender heart. Thinking about my loving Savior being beaten, mocked, and crucified is not an enjoyable exercise for me, but it’s an important one. It is the death of Jesus that changed everything for all of creation. When Jesus said, “it is finished,” He meant it. From that moment on, nothing would ever stop God’s people from being with Him. The curtain of the temple was torn in two, eliminating the barrier between God and His people forever. By going through the immense physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering that He experienced, Jesus fulfilled the promise of Emmanuel: God with us.
In this brief passage from Luke 23, we see the earth responding to the death of Jesus. I appreciate the way this part of the story is told in the Jesus Storybook Bible: “Even though it was midday, a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world. The sun could not shine. The earth trembled and quaked. Until it seemed that the whole world would break. That creation itself would tear apart. The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.” In this telling of Jesus’ death, we see such sacrifice and love from God the Father. Our Savior died an immensely painful human death so that we might be in relationship with Him for all of eternity. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Spend some time dwelling in the pain and suffering of Jesus today. Listen to or sing a few of these hymns: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?, What Wondrous Love is This, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Were You There, O Sacred Head Now Wounded, Hallelujah! What a Savior. Allow the reality of the suffering Jesus experienced to sink into your soul as you reflect on what the death of Jesus means for us today.