Good Friday -- It is accomplished!
Where are we?
Where are we?
Yesterday I talked about how God’s plan of reconciliation had been in process from the moment that Adam and Eve rebelled against God. We saw how it involved the sacrifice of a lamb, and how that was scattered throughout the Old Testament. We saw how John, in his gospel, placed John the Baptist’s declaration of Jesus as the lamb of God, right at the beginning of his gospel.
And now we come to the sacrifice itself. John’s emphasis here is a bit different to the other gospels. Matthew explained how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament, Luke showed how Jesus came to save all the world, and Mark emphasized the powerful acts of the Son of God. What does John show?
John focuses on Jesus as the God-man in total control of the whole situation. Jesus isn’t merely fulfilling words written about him. He is the source of those words, the author of Scripture. And in the crucifixion he is personally writing the climax of the story. The completion of God’s great plan of reconciliation.
Let’s quickly walk through the account
How do we see this?
How do we see this?
18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
we see God’s plan to send the Son as the Suffering Servant demonstrated by the fact that he is crucified between two criminals, as Isaiah 53:12 prophecies:
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
God promised David an eternal kingdom, and the prophet Jeremiah foretold that a “righteous branch” of David’s line would rule over a just and good kingdom. Pilate’s inscription, “The king of the Jews,”
19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
points out this truth, though Pilate’s words were a bitter taunt directed at the Jewish leaders.
14 “The day will come, says the Lord, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. 15 “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. 16 In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ 17 For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever.
Even the rough soldiers at the foot of the cross, played out God’s plan, acting out the drama described in the Messianic Psalm 22.
18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.
Jesus himself demonstrates the completion of his plan, fulfilling the scripture in his cry for drink.
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”
The scripture he fulfills is probably Psalm 69:21.
21 But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst.
And, in John’s gospel, Jesus "gives up his soul” with the cry, “It is accomplished.”
30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus doesn’t have his life taken from him, he gives it up himself. John makes sure that his readers understand: Jesus is in control! He has laid down his life for the salvation of many!
And Jesus’ cry of accomplishment also emphasises the fulfillment of God’s great plan. The word usually refers to religious duty—Jesus has made the sacrifice required to cover our sins, once and for all. God’s plan to restore us to relationship with him has been completed. In Matthew this moment is made more graphic by his recounting of the tearing of the temple curtain, removing the barrier between God and humanity.
51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,
After Jesus death, the soldiers come to ensure that no-one is left alive and hanging on their crosses, because it is soon a high Sabbath. By the way, “Preparation day” is what the Jews called Friday, since every week they prepared for the Sabbath on Friday. But this particular Sabbath was a high Sabbath, and thus the need to remove the bodies.
33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.
In removing the bodies, Jesus is found dead, so his bones are not broken
46 Each Passover lamb must be eaten in one house. Do not carry any of its meat outside, and do not break any of its bones.
Here John holds Jesus up at the true passover lamb.
34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
And his side is pierced, as per
10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.
Even after his death, Jesus is still in control, and God’s great plan of salvation rolls on.
What Jesus has done
What Jesus has done
It is worth pausing to think about what Jesus has accomplished here on the cross:
He has defeated Satan and hell, crushed the head of the serpent.
He has taken the world’s sin on himself, and so defeated the power of sin to separate us from God.
He has gone to the grave, and so taken away the terror of the grave for those who follow him.
He has died, and in doing so defeated that last enemy: death.
A poet called S. W. Gandy expresses these truths in a powerful little poem:
He hell in hell laid low;
Made sin, he sin o’erthrew;
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
And death, by dying, slew.
As we reflect on what Jesus achieved, it is worth thinking about why he embarked on this extraordinary mission to recover what was lost.
We were lost. We were lost in our sins. And with his death Jesus has taken away the power of those sins to kill us, to separate us from God. But we still must struggle with them, the story has not yet finished.