John 19:28-30 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
You can ask most people what day it is, and many will know it is Good Friday, but if you ask them what is good about Good Friday, very few will offer an answer. So what do you say, if someone asks you this question?
You might think about answering it in terms of why this is good for us.
It is good somebody died for our sins.
It is good somebody gave us forgiveness of sins.
It is good that somebody opened the gates to heaven.
It is good that somebody made peace with God for us.
But its not good to see someone suffer and die.
It is not good to see someone slandered and betrayed.
It is not good to see someone abandoned and forsaken.
So that the net result is that we are still not certain why this Friday is Good Friday. Funny thing is that it is not supposed to be a mystery, Jesus kept telling everyone who would listen. Our text tells us what we need to know, and it is the very simple phrase: "It is Finished."
What is good about Good Friday, is found in the words "It Is Finished." And that should be all that we need to say, especially as Jesus has been saying all along what the "it" is – it is the work the Father has given him to do, the salvation of the world.
Usually we think of things not being done until Easter, when Jesus rises from the dead – but if you listen closely, you will see that the victory is won at the moment of his death – we know this because, at the last Supper Jesus tells his disciples that he will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until he drinks in new in the kingdom of God – and we are tempted to imagine something else, something victorious, something filled with glory – and not a condemned man about to breath his last, being given sour wine vinegar, saying his last words and expiring.
But then we forget that Jesus has kept telling us all along why he came – telling us over and over again, that he came to do His Father’s will – and with his dying breath to tell us, that all, every last bit that the father had given him to do had been accomplished.
Hadn’t Jesus said, that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so must the Son of Man be lifted up, and when he was lifted up, he would draw all men unto himself – one would not expect a serpent to be a symbol of life, just as one would not expect the cross to be the symbol of life and salvation. But there it is, just as Jesus had said.
It is hard for us to imagine a day when we can ever say, it is finished – so much to be done, and the time moves so quickly – but perhaps if we would follow our savior – perhaps if we would be as intent with doing the will of God, as Jesus was about doing his father’s will – perhaps then, when God would call us, we also would be able to look, and see God’s call, as the it is finished to our life, everything that he had given us to do, is done, and then we can rest in Christ.
Even if we cannot perfectly follow our Savior, we still find great comfort, not because we get everything done, but simply in this – that Christ has already done everything necessary – his death has already brought us life, salvation and the forgiveness of sins – and that is the good of Goof Friday, that makes us stop and give thanks to God, for this gracious gift we have been given in Jesus our Lord.