Greetings in the Name of the Lord:
I am currently sitting in the seclusion of my study at home reflecting on “Good Friday.” Sybil and I cannot ever remember observing this sacred day the way we find ourselves observing it in 2020. I just want to give you a few words of encouragement in these unusual times that we live in. The Covid-19 has changed the way we worship and our fellowship dynamics but it can never change the fact that God is still sovereign and if you know Jesus as your Savior God is now and always will be your Heavenly Father.
I want you to consider something I feel we sometimes lose sight of. When Jesus was hanging on the Cross of Calvary His last recorded words were, “It is finished.” The first point I want to make (and it is emphatic) is that Jesus did not say, “I am finished.” The last three words uttered from the cross ring through all eternity with a resounding shout of victory that was accomplished on that day through the sacrificial death of the Son of God.
Someone’s last words can tell you so much about their personality, accomplishments (or lack thereof), and regrets. For instance, Voltaire, the French infidel who despised Christians and their faith in God said, “I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of my wealth if you give me six months to live.” Contrast the words of an infidel with the words of Stonewall Jackson, a godly Confederate general. He had been shot (accidentally) in the left arm by one of his own men at Chancellorsville. His left arm had to be amputated and pneumonia set in. Eight days later he died. His final words were, “Let us cross over the river and sit in the shade of the trees.”
Now, my observation is this: One man faced death with agony and dread begging for a little more time while another faced the inevitable with dignity and assurance of something better. What made the difference? “It is finished.” The infidel had rejected and blasphemed God while the godly man had made his eternal destiny sure through the “Blood of the Lamb”.
“It is finished.” In essence God the Son is telling God the Father I am in complete control. Father, every jot and tittle, every word and deed, everything you have given to be accomplished through me is now a complete work. Then, in one final sovereign act, “he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30). Pay special attention to the fact that He gave up the ghost. No man took it from Him which is a fulfillment of His words in John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
In closing I would like to make an observation that I pray will clarify this act of love of the Son of God dying on the cross. Christians understand that salvation, that precious gift they have was given freely and they have accepted the finished act of Christ. If you are reading this and you are not a Christian then please let me urge you to understand and grasp those precious words, “It is finished.” You cannot add to something that is finished or completed. In other words, you cannot be good enough, work hard enough or give enough to be accepted of God. You have to trust in the atoning Blood of Christ to accepted of the Father.
In his poem “Elegiac Verse,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending.” Thank you God for giving us Your Son. Thank you Jesus for the great art of ending what the Father sent You to do. God bless you all and may the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior be with you all.