Posted: 3/21/16 at 8:00am. Column by Ed Jordan.
Everybody’s heard the abbreviation T.G.I.F, which stands for “Thank God It’s Friday!” The end of the work week has arrived! It means it’s time for a break, or that the worst is over, we’re over the hump, and better things are coming.
As Easter approaches, it’s time to consider the amazing life and death of Jesus. He went through about 33 years of life on Earth, knowing that a gruesome death awaited him. I sometimes wonder if Jesus, as he was nailed to the cross, was not inwardly thinking something like “Thank God it’s Friday!”
On that Good Friday, his work was almost complete, and he knew better things were coming. Soon the pain of His human suffering would be over, and the day of His resurrection would be close at hand.
But on the way to that Good Friday, Jesus led a very special and amazing life. I often marvel at how much Jesus went through in his short lifetime and how little we appreciate his fortitude and commitment to go through it all, motivated by his love for us.
He began his public ministry by calling twelve disciples to spend time with him, learn from him, and eventually change the world. Jesus invited people to become citizens of God’s kingdom and to experience a changed life.
Jesus taught as no one else taught. He backed up his teaching with God’s miraculous activity among the lives of those who would believe in him and turn to God. Some of the religious leaders became jealous and sought ways to kill Jesus. From that time on, His ministry met opposition, and it became more and more difficult.
The last three months of Jesus’ life should be considered carefully. He experienced almost daily conflict caused by the religious leaders. His disciples were involved in power struggles in a desire to become his top lieutenants.
His life was like a lit fuse burning its way to the powder keg. He still had so much to do before he would die on the cross and leave it to the disciples to carry on the work. Time was running out as Good Friday approached.
Just imagine the pressure upon Jesus. He had to prepare his followers for his departure. He had to help them understand what they would need to do and how to do it. He needed to keep them focused on what was really important while helping them avoid competition and divisiveness.
Furthermore, he had to be ready for betrayal, unjust tribunals, abuse, mocking, lack of food and sleep, beatings, whippings, loneliness, and pain. He would experience dehydration, suffocation, and the humiliation of being hung naked before a jeering crowd as spikes were driven through his body.
He would be crushed as the weight of the world’s sin was transferred onto His shoulders. In his last hours, he would tell John to take care of his mother, Mary.
Then when everything was provided for, and all things were fulfilled, we read in John 19:30 (ESV): “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” In Matthew 27:51-54 we read that upon Jesus’ death, the veil in the temple, which symbolized the barrier that kept sinful man separated from Holy God, was torn from the top to the bottom. Sin’s dominion over people had finally come to an end.
Jesus finished his work on Good Friday, and it’s a Friday we can certainly thank God for. But more importantly, because of his resurrection, our “Thank God It’s Friday” has been changed into an eternal “Thank God It’s Finished!”
Sin’s hold over us is finished, death’s domination is finished, and our alienation from God is finished. Our powerlessness to do God’s will is finished, as are any grounds for our condemnation! Doubts about the reality of God are also finished, as are doubts about the power of God, and doubts regarding the reality of life beyond the grave.
We who place our faith in God experience the completed salvation of God, given to all who believe in Jesus. There remains only one more thing for each person to do. We must individually believe and trust fully in Jesus and what God has accomplished in him, so that we may experience the finished work of Christ in our lives. Can you declare “Thank God It’s Finished!” in your own life?