Scripture for today: John 19:16-30. You may wish to read the other Gospel accounts in Matthew 27:31-50; Mark 15:20-37; and Luke 23:26-46.
John 19:16–30 (NASB95)
16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.
17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.
21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’ ”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.
24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.”
25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”
29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Many have wondered about the name “Good Friday”. What was so good about it? The events of the day seem to indicate that the forces of darkness and evil had won. The end had come.
The disciples no doubt thought that the end had come. The end of their dreams of the reign of Jesus as Messiah, the end of three years of Jesus’ teaching, the end of three years of friendship with their closest friend.
The religious and political leaders thought that this must be the end. The end of the crowds following the Galilean preacher, the end of having their hypocrisy and self-centeredness exposed, the end of the One who cared more for the Word of God than their precious religious traditions.
Satan must have hoped that this was the end. The end of God’s attempt to remove the curse of sin, the end of God’s attempt to provide eternal life in place of the death that had reigned so long, the end of Jesus, whose coming had been foretold in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15).
But when Jesus, from the cross, declared “It is Finished” (John 19:30), He was not indicating the end of any of these things. He was indicating that through His death He had fully satisfied the demands of God. Our sin “debt” had been paid in full so that we could have an eternal relationship with God. “It is finished” was not the end, it was the victory cry of the One who had overcome sin and death once and for all.
As we think of the victory of the cross, let us never lose sight of the tremendous price paid by Jesus for our sins. He suffered pain, agony and shame of the most brutal kind. He suffered separation from His Eternal Father, a kind of pain we may never understand. He suffered all of this punishment for you and for me, so that by believing in His works on the cross we may have eternal life.
Prayer: Father, help me to see the death of Jesus as the only possible payment for my sins. By my faith in His works on the cross may I be assured of eternal life. Amen.