Grace For The Journey
For centuries, sacrifice after sacrifice was brought to the temple to atone for the sins of the people of God . . . until Good Friday. On this day the perfect Sacrifice went to the cross, willingly and without hesitation, to pay the price, once-for-all, for all of our sins.
“The Bible tells us about it in John 19:30, “When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said ‘It is finished …!’” The great work of Good Friday is found in the fact that it is a finished work. What Jesus came to do He did do . . . and now it is finished. Never again will any payment or sacrifice be required, because payment was made in full. John the Baptist confirmed that in God’s perfect plan of redemption, no other sacrifice would ever be needed to take away our sins … “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
No more goats or bulls or lambs or pigeons. The perfect Lamb of God has shed His blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is not something you look forward to. This is not something you hope for. This is not something you experience after years of walking with the Lord. This is the truth for every child of God the moment they place their trust in Christ’s sacrificial death. The great work of Good Friday is a finished work.
There is nothing we can do to add to what Jesus has already done on our behalf . . .
No promise . . . No penance . . . No performance . . . No persuasion.
To be sure, the proud pharisaical heart that lies within each of us rises up against this truth. Surely there must be something we need to do – if not to get into heaven, at least to maintain our right standing! But I have emphasized since the beginning of this blog that the same grace that saves you is the same grace that sanctifies you. You are not saved by God’s grace and then expected to maintain your salvation through your own spiritual effort.
Jesus proclaimed in John 10:17-18, “I lay down My life . . . No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.” Jesus willingly went to the cross for His people. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves, and He did it because He wanted to do it. They did not drag Him kicking or screaming or fighting or defending. When Jesus prayed from the cross on that Good Friday, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46), He made it clear that He was in complete control of everything that was going on. The voice of truth calmly spoke words of comfort and confidence as He willingly laid down His life for us and voluntarily gave up the Ghost.
Bruce Marchiano portrayed Jesus Christ in the The Gospel According to Matthew. Marchiano authored a book, In the Footsteps of Jesus, about his experiences portraying our Lord. In a gripping passage about Christ’s unwavering determination to die on our behalf, Marchiano wrote: “It’s so vital a thing for us all to grasp: Jesus wasn’t forced to the cross – He chose the cross”.
And on that day, that most awful of days, He wasn’t dragged to the cross. He was crawling to the cross. His battered body was giving out on Him; He had little life remaining in Him, struggling against all odds; yet He had to make it to the cross. Fighting against the pain, struggling with everything He had, determined to press on through indescribable pain and opposition to see the fulfillment of His mission – one more step, one more step … almost there … one more … made it! — and then hammer drops.
But then the victory cry!
In the original text, it is translated from a single Greek word: “Tetelestai!” It is the triumphant pronouncement of heaven’s finest warrior: “IT IS FINISHED!” I do not believe that our Lord gasped out His word; I am sure His voice thundered! Matthew records that immediately afterward, “The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split . . . When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:51, 54)
The great work of Good Friday is the finished work of Jesus Christ. He cannot love you any more or any less. No matter how you perform, good or bad, if you have admitted that you are a sinner, repented of your sin, accepted His work of redemption upon the cross, and asked Him to be you Savior, you are secure in the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is done. It is finished. The debt is paid in full.
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey
… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”