Summary: A sermon for Good Friday.

“It Is Finished”

John 19:17-30

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

More than anyone Who ever walked this earth—Jesus did what He said…

…He lived what He taught.

“You have heard it said,” Jesus declares in Matthew Chapter 5: “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

Is this not what Jesus Christ did?

He did not return evil with evil…and, in doing so, give evil the Victory…

…instead He overcame Evil with Good!!!

He overcame death and the devil by looking death square in the face, and marching right into it…

…knowing full-well that death was not what the Son of God deserved!!!

Back in Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus also taught us: “You have heard that is was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

In Luke’s Gospel we witness Jesus praying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Certainly, Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets…

…and to show us just Who God is and what God is like!!!

For the millions who go hungry every day and for those who are subjected to inhuman working conditions…

…Jesus was crucified…

…for all those who are mutilated in war and confined to hospital beds…

…Jesus was crucified…

…for all those who are marginalized in our cities and rural areas, and for all those who suffer from discrimination because of their race, sex, or poverty…

…Jesus was crucified…

…for all those who are persecuted because of their thirst for justice, and for all those who are forced, in their jobs, to violate their conscience, to conceal the truth, and to act as agents for institutions that oppress the lowly…

…Jesus was crucified.

He was crucified for all those who fight, without immediate success, against economic and ideological systems that create sinful structures, structures that engage in exploitation…

…and for those who are forced to live within such structures against their will…

…He was crucified…

For all those who face evil every day, but take up there cross and follow Christ…

…Jesus was crucified!!!

And in this we see the full extent of God’s love!!!

We often speak of the Cross as a stark tragedy; as the most awful, wicked, and incongruous thing that 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—by the very creatures He created!!!

It’s almost too shocking to be credible!

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.

Did not Christ tell us in John Chapter 15: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus has shown us the greatest love of all…

…proving God’s love for us!

The first explanation Jesus 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 this? Don’t you see that this is what had to happen… “For God so loved the world.”

In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read about Jesus that: “he had to be made like his brothers [and sisters] in every way.”

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!!!

The Cross shows the real nature of sin…

…and the Real nature of God!!!

Persons 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!

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