As we read John’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus, we come to understand why we take time with God’s Word on this Friday. It is the day when Jesus our Savior breathed his last and gave up his life. It is the day our Savior finished his work and accomplished for us what we could not have done for ourselves. Only Jesus and he alone could have finished the work of our salvation.
John does not give us all the details of Jesus’ crucifixion that the other gospels give, but he gives enough for us to see in Jesus, our one and only Savior from sin. There is a children’s song that goes, Who has the power to raise the dead? Jesus does, Jesus does. Who can make the blind to see? Jesus can, Jesus can. Who will save us from our sin? Jesus will, Jesus will, only Jesus can.
From the moment Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, through their disobedience, sin came into the world. The perfect creation, ruined. Man’s perfect relationship with God, ruined. Man’s perfect status before a holy God, ruined. Death came into the world, and everything was ruined. In the book of Romans, it is written that since that time all creation has been groaning and waiting, all mankind has been suffering and longing, from that time everything has been perishing, mankind has been dying, and hell has been reigning. And who is going to set us and all creation free from the bondage of sin, who is going to restore and make us perfect again? You, me…. Jesus can, Jesus can, only Jesus could.
We live in a time and world where are tempted to think lightly of sin. That God’s call for perfection is more of a desire, wish, or want of his more than a concrete command. Therefore, we offer excuses for our ill behavior, and try to justify the wrongs we have committed. We think no matter how bad we are, there are others worse. When we feel guilt, we try to dismiss it. When we have shame, we try to conceal it. When we feel regret, we try to hide it. We can think that sin and imperfection – is just a part of life. But it’s not a part of eternal life. For mankind’s imperfection cannot dwell together with God’s perfection, and so as we stand before a Holy God, it is written “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” By nature, we are only able to wait for the time of our death, only waiting for the time of our own judgment, waiting for hell.
It was on the cross God showed the seriousness of sin. God showed the price needed to be paid for the salvation of your soul. It was a price that you couldn’t pay, but Jesus did, Jesus did, only Jesus could. Through his perfection he became our Substitute. The burden of all sin was laid upon him. The full wrath of God was poured out upon him. The blood needed to make atonement was taken from him. The death needed to be endured was laid before him – and in love, he willingly endured all to redeem your soul. If you are ever tempted to think of your sins but lightly, nor suppose your evils great, here you see the body and blood of Jesus given and shed for you.
As we gather together at this day and hour, the day and hour as our Lord was crucified on a cross, when he breathed his last breath and gave up his life, we are reminded that it was for our sins and for our salvation. The early Christian church calls it Good Friday, out of all the days – there is no better day, no more perfect day – than the day my Savior died for my sins and made me holy in the sight of my God.
Read John 19:17-42 as today’s Scripture lesson.
Blessings to you and your families,
Pastor Matthew Guse, St. Peter’s, FdL