The first Good Friday those many days ago was the most momentous day in history for all of mankind although many didn't know it then or now. At the time, however, excepting a small contingent of those who truly understood that this was a Man-God, both human and divine, it received limited notice. Jesus, a humble earthly carpenter yet the Son of God at the same time went through trial, beatings, ridicule and yet he made it up the rocky road to Golgotha while carrying his own death instrument, the Cross, as he was beaten and flogged. He made it to His destination, was nailed to that cross before it was placed upright for all to see and agonized for approximately six hours in the hot sun before dying. And despite his pain and suffering, He asked His Father to forgive those who did this to Him, saying they knew not what they did.
And that's what makes the story so powerful. His entire purpose for living as a man was to bring forgiveness to all if they accepted Him as their Savior. It would take time, even for the faithful to understand that, including his disciples, but when they did they would take His message far and near. With His gift to mankind after Ascension of the Holy Spirit, His followers would be infected with that Spirit and carry his message not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles and people of all races. Now two thousand years years later, the Bible has been translated into most languages of the world and people clamor to receive the Word, even those under threat of death if they are found with it. What is it about Him that makes people so willing to trust Him?
When Jesus uttered the words "it is finished" in the Scripture above, He wasn't referring to His love for all of us although love is the overriding nature of who He is. No, He was merely stating that the ordeal that He was sent to earth to endure was over and that now He would return back to the side of His Father. But shortly thereafter, following his Ascension to Heaven, His followers would get the reassurance and the guidance they needed to carry out their mission by that gift of the Holy Spirit, the third part of God which would reside within each of us. And for those of us who open our hearts through prayer, church attendance and Bible reading, the Holy Spirit comes alive and fills us with His grace and love and gives us the opportunity for Everlasting Life with Him. Nothing could be sweeter, nothing could be grander, nothing could show more love and grace and if we are wise we will accept His offer. By loving Him, truly believing in Him and living for Him we will inherit the greatest riches in the Universe. They will not be material but Heavenly and the pain and suffering that we often face will disappear forever.
This is what the events that happened on Good Friday so long ago mean. Take advantage of them and you will never be wanting in your everlasting life. Just like we are greeted on a beautiful spring morning by the light and the warmth of the sun, by accepting Him we will bathe in His light and warmth forever. Isn't that highly preferable to a cold and hardened heart and darkness?
Dear Lord, Thank you for what you did for us so many years ago and for the wonderful gift of salvation that you made available. Help us to open our hearts and accept the Holy Spirit openly and honestly so that we might live with you forever. We ask in Christ's name, Amen.
Happy Easter weekend, everyone.