Holy Week Reflection #5: Good Friday

Last year Coram Deo sent a team of people to Austin, Texas, to plant Providence Church. Jeff Lark is an Austin resident and longtime Campus Crusade staff member who is part of the launch team for Providence. This week, Jeff is writing daily reflections on the final week of Jesus’ life. With his permission, I’m posting them here as well.

Reflection #5: Walking to the Cross – 12 Words

Two statements…two brief sentences…a total of 12 words. But 12 words that change everything…or do they?

I am writing this at about 2:00pm central time.  On Friday, at just about this time, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) and then, breathing his last, he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Thank God for these 12 words.  Jesus had been walking in the pleasure of the Father all of his life (This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased – Matt 3:17).  But, as the sky grew dark that one Friday, Jesus felt the scorn, displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath and isolation of his Father.  From all of eternity past, never once had there been the slightest breach in the unity of the Trinity.  But, now, Jesus felt something he had never felt before – the Father turning his face away from the son…so that His face could be turned to us…in infinite pleasure.

And then, as the sky was at its darkest, Jesus said three final words – It is finished.  Mission accomplished… Satan crushed… humanity redeemed… wrath appeased… joy available… salvation offered… heaven opened.  And, not only do we now have the pleasure of God, because of his work, we can rest.

These words changed everything… they accomplished my salvation… they secured my relationship with God… they provide me peace with God… they cause God’s face to look upon me for all of eternity with pleasure.

But, do they change everything?  Everything has been changed.  But, is my present reality different because of these words?  Because God forsook Christ, I’m now never forsaken.  But, why do I wonder where He is in the midst of pain?  Why is it hard to approach him after I sin… do I think he possibly has turned his back on me?  Why do I sometimes think he has left me on my own to figure out this life?  When things don’t go my way, why do I wonder if he still loves me… truly loves me?

Because “it is finished”, I can rest.  But, why do I find myself on a treadmill of performing for acceptance… with others and with God?  Why do I run to functional saviors for life and security – status, finances, neighborhood, image, ministry success, and a thousand other “saviors”?

The cross has changed everything… and the cross should change everything.  It is finished.

Questions for reflection:

  • How have you found yourself not believing these 12 words?  What “functional saviors” have you been turning to?
  • How would it change everything if you truly believed that God was fully pleased with you and that because of his finished work, you could rest in that pleasure?

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