Summary: A Good Friday meditation.
“It Is Finished”
By Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
We often speak of the Cross as a stark tragedy; as the most awful, wicked, and incongruous thing which ever happened on this planet.
And, in a sense, we are right!
Almighty God comes to earth, lives as a human among humans---and He is whipped, spat upon, pierced with nails, and hung on a tree to die.
It is too shocking to be credible!
We marvel that even in hell they could think of anything so fiendishly wicked as that.
It was, indeed, the most ‘out of place thing’ which has ever happened on this planet.
And yet, while that is true, it is only half the truth.
Even though it seems as if it just doesn’t fit…well…in some ways it does fit.
The first explanation Christ ever made about His dying after He had risen from the dead was while He was walking to Emmaus with two disciples who did not recognize Him and who were stunned by all that happened on Calvary...
…Jesus was trying to explain to them why the Cross had to be….
“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
In other words…. “Can’t you see the fittingness of it? Don’t you see that it is the keystone of the arch?”
In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read about Jesus that: “he had to be made like his brothers in every way.”
He had to suffer.
And in the same epistle we read: “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
It was fitting.
So there is the sublime paradox again….
…a great crime; a great love.
A vast incongruity; a lovely congruity.
The world’s worst; heaven’s best!
It is a horrible and recurring tragedy of the human race that we do not realize the sinfulness of sin.
We call our sins, mistakes; our weaknesses, slips; and even when we do use the right word---sin--- we often use it lightly.
What is sin?
It is sin that takes the holy God—incarnate here on earth—and treats Him as no beast should be treated!
It is sin that takes the gracious loving Jesus, Who never harmed a soul and spent all His days helping and healing…
…and strips Him, whips Him, spits on Him, pierces Him with nails—and then laughs at Him!
That is sin.
We have been guilty of the same sins that nailed Jesus to the Cross.
Gossip, greed, bigotry, fear, slander---they all added up to the crucifixion.
It takes the Cross to make us realize what sin really is.
Sin is deadly.
It is the one thing God won’t tolerate.
The war between good and evil is a war to the death!
And how often do we lend ourselves to sin without knowing to what dirty enterprise we have sold ourselves too---until we see that Cross!
Whenever we are tempted to feel that something is only a “white lie”; whenever we are greedy, slanderous, loose in our speech, selfish---we must look at the Cross!
The Cross shows the real nature of sin.
Sin isn’t an invention of preachers.
We would never have known what sin is…we would never have known it’s deadly nature if Jesus Christ had not endured the Cross before our eyes!
People who see this life as it is see the tears in things.
There can be a lot of happiness in life---but, life is not a picnic!
There are tears in things.
Every day the undertaker plies his solemn trade.
Every day hearts break.
Every day the routine goes on in a thousand hospitals.
A friend was giving a visiting pastor a tour of his city.
As they went through town, the pastor was impressed by a great institution.
One part of it was so modern, with colorful green tiles, and one part of it was old; but all of it was extensive.
It seemed to take the car quite a while to pass it by.
“What a place!” the pastor said to his friend.
“What a huge place!”
“Yes,” his friend replied. “It is the mental hospital.”
The mental hospital! That saddest of all sicknesses…
…there are tears in things.
How could one speak to the multitudes of sufferers in a world like this if one had no crucified Savior to speak about?
To all those whose minds reel in sorrow; to all those who are tempted to believe that there is no God in heaven, or, at least, no God of love, Jesus Christ comes down and shows them His hands.
More eloquently than any words could express…
…those pierced hands say: “I have suffered.”