TGIF – ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ is a popular slogan in many parts of the world today. People raise it to remind each other of the fast approaching weekend and look forward to the break from their routine, the fun, the rest and relaxation it brings with it. On the eve of Good Friday as I sit pondering, trying to take a walk to Golgotha to linger at the foot of the Cross, I have a million reasons (and by the way, I am still counting) to say TGFGF – Thank God For Good Friday!
This day is not something I wish to reminisce for pleasant memories or happy times… It was the day when, as the song writers put it, ‘the Darling of heaven (was) crucified… and ‘the Dearest and Best, for a world of lost sinners was slain.’ Ironically and interestingly this day is called Good Friday… not ‘Bad Friday’… not ‘Black Friday.’ In the lines that follow, I wish to make an attempt to walk the Via Dolorosa – Way of Suffering, lest I forget His love for me!
Jesus, as the Bible records, was hanging on the Cross on a Friday. The eve before these gruesome hours, He went up to the Garden to pray with His disciples. They were overcome with sleep and left Him to deal with His agony alone. Soon after that He was betrayed by one of the disciples. Another who loved Him dearly, denied knowing Him. Upon His arrest most of His disciples and followers seem to have fled the scene. He was in the hands of those who wanted to do away with Him! His hands were tied, His head bruised with a rod, they slapped and they spat on His face, they beat up his back such that it looked like a ploughed field. Abandoned by friends, derided by scoffers, overcome by excruciating pain and agony hung my Jesus on the Cross…
His dying words have brought me life… This day I recall the words my Savior said from the Cross and what they have meant to me.
He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34 and bought me a forgiveness so full and so free. He prayed for forgiveness not because those around, me including, deserved it. We desperately needed it! He prayed for forgiveness because our actions reflected sheer ignorance of the consequences that followed. I experience and live in freedom from the penalty and power of sin!
He promised the dying sinner ‘”Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43.’ The day I cried out in repentance ‘Lord remember me, I am a sinner’ He spoke those same words to me. I live each day with the hope of eternal life with this Jesus, in His home!
“Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”John 19:26-27. In His abandoned state, He entrusts and establishes a relationship that will support and uphold one another. It reminds me of the Christian family relationships that stand by me in my times of loneliness, pain, tears and fears. And I know we are united because of what He did on the Cross.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. The Son who intimately addressed the Father as ‘Abba’ is now crying out God! He was forsaken so I could be forgiven. As my sin was laid upon His shoulders, His father turned His face away! I boldly approach His throne of Grace today to call Him ‘Abba’ since He willingly gave up His privilege to call Him ‘Abba’ on the Cross!
“I thirst.” John 19:28. The living water, the One who opened up streams and rivers that never dry, thirsts still for a living relationship with me. He satisfies the deepest longings in my heart. He strives to remind you and me that the thirsts we each experience in our lives can only be truly satisfied by drinking from this river of life on a daily basis. Would you lift up your empty cups and call out ‘I thirst?’ He is more than ready to fill you!
“It is finished;” John 19:29-30 He cried out triumphantly. The battle is over. The price for sin is paid once and for all. Death is beaten, defeated and conquered. I can now bury my loved ones with the hope that death died on the Cross! I now live forever. Even death can only separate me temporarily!
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46. The spirit that gives me life is commended into the hands of the One who gave me life! When my work on earth is done, when He calls me ‘Come Home’ May I be granted to say these words like my Saviour did…
After He said these words He died… As I conclude, I wish to remind myself that it wasn’t easy for Jesus to say these words. It cost Him more than I could ever count or recount – Truly “I’ll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that Cross.” As I begin to walk away from the foot of the cross, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and I pray, “Lord, Let me never, never, outlive my love to Thee”