Holy Week Meditations (Good Friday): Three Important Words
John 19:30 "Three Important Words"
Good Friday is a paradox of good and evil. The good and marvelous realities of a God who comes to the world to save and not condemn. The Creator God who showers mercy, grace, and love on undeserved sinners.
A good God comes to a bad people and offers an invitation of forgiveness, restoration, salvation, and hope.
A paradox, the definition of goodness, and the outcome of good, requiring a holy imagination. Good expressed in the innocent dying for the guilty, the weak for the strong.
How can the death of an innocent man, who is also God, be good? The Creator and Redeemer God is destroyed, crushed, and crucified for our sins and iniquities. By his wounds and stripes we are healed, and get peace. Where’s the justice and goodness?
A loving God who bestows gifts upon gifts rejected and abandoned by his creatures. Evil and injustice running rampant and the air we breathe daily. Where is the good?
But if we sit long enough, think, ponder, reflect, pray, and meditate on the good of Good Friday, goodness is all around.
We could argue atonement theory and try to surmise what happened on the cross and why it was necessary. Maybe pontificate on the role and vocation of Jesus and if he was the Son of God, or a mere failed revolutionary prophet and rabbi.
But I need something greater than well articulated words from theologians and professors and commentators and pastors and bloggers. I need to hear from the Source. Why is Good Friday, good? Jesus gives a hint:
It is finished.
The words of Jesus spoken from the rugged cross where his blood and life was poured out. Maybe words that confuse, or comfort.
Words of completion and new creation. When God created the heavens and earth he rested on the seventh day and said:
It is finished. It is good, very good.
Everything Jesus says about the world, himself, us, and where it is all headed are found in these three simple words: it is finished.
Jesus’ words are for me and you. It is finished. No more striving and making ourselves whole. Jesus has done it. No more penance and weak attempts at balancing the scales of my sin, it is finished.
The crucifixion no longer repeated, a one time event. Remembered as a completed act in bread and cup as God’s people gather. It is finished. Put away your religion, self righteousness, lamb, temple, striving, and animals for slaughter. The Passover Lamb has completed the once and for all sacrifice.
Rest in him.
It is finished, words I need often. When life feels too much, appears evil is winning, it is finished. My sin and addiction too big for God to handle, it is finished.
When I think religious devotion or good deeds will satisfy the heart of God, it is finished. Another loose word damages the souls of the ones I love, it is finished.
Anxiety and worry, making it hard to breathe, it is finished.
When feelings, emotions, and expectations and joy are lacking: it is finished.
In the midst of fear, doubt, and sorrow: it is finished.
Whatever we might think about God, faith, Christianity, and the realities of the universe. Wrapped up into our understanding of who we are, who God is, and where it all is headed are found in these three simple words:
It is finished.
Good Friday is not just good, it is very good!