Why is Good Friday good? Why would the day that is soaked in the sorrow of the death of Jesus be considered “good.” What do the words “It Is Finished” signify for our lives. Pastor Adam Christiansen of Cross & Crown Church in Seattle explains the importance of Good Friday, what it means in our lives today and how to share it with those around us.
Pastor Adam: We’ve all accumulated a ledger that is just dripping with red, a ledger that is full of guilt. It’s full of conviction. That’s full of our shame. And we’ve accrued this debt on our own behalf. And so, we’re burying under this mountain of sin debt. And when Jesus declared it is finished, my friends, what I want you to find is hope, and knowing that your debt has been erased fully.
Narrator: Revive your faith with Purposely Equipped. In this special five-episode podcast, Experience Resurrection, we’re looking at what the resurrection really means to our Christian faith and why what Jesus did on the cross is so important to our lives today. Special, thanks to our friends at George Fox University, ranked among the top Christian colleges in America by Forbes. Be known at George Fox University; personally, academically, and spiritually.
Pastor Adam: What, if I could tell you three words that would change the way you live your life? Three words that would have a dramatic impact to understanding your past, your present, and even your future. Would you want to know what those words are? Of course, you would. These three words that will impact the way you live your everyday life are, it is finished. These were the words that were uttered by Jesus right before he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. The day that he would die on that cross, on a day that Christians would celebrate as a Friday that we would declare to be good. It’s a seeming contradiction, isn’t it, just that name itself?
Why would it be good? Why would the day that is so soaked in the sorrow and the misery and the death of the one that was to come and save the world, why would that be good? Now, we as Christians on this side of the cross, understand that three days later, Jesus victoriously rose from the grave, that he conquered Satan’s sin and death, but it was the words that he declared on that Friday, that signified a most impactful declaration of truth for us, that changes the way we live.
Let me take you through a bit of what that day looked like, as it’s reported by the scripture. That Friday was actually the night before that he was betrayed by his friends, that he was arrested, falsely accused, condemned to death. That he was beaten, scourged, bloody beyond what the scriptures would say even resembling that of a human. He was unrecognizable so badly beaten and bloodied. He was then sentenced to be crucified, forced to carry. The crossbeam that he would be hung on and think of it just that, that roughhewn timber that would be laid on his just mangled skin, his back that be so tender. He was so weak that he was actually couldn’t even carry it on his own. Someone had to be encouraged to come alongside and help him along. And then he got to the side of his crucifixion, where he would be stretched out on that beam and his hands would be pierced to the nail as he’s nailed to it. And that beam would be a fixed to a post and dropped into its hole. Can you imagine just the shuttering that would take place and the agony that he was in in that moment?
That was the morning, the day he died. The scriptures would reveal that around noon of that day, the sun’s light would fail, and it would be as if it were nighttime. Think about that. It’s the peak of the day and it goes dark. And three hours later, Jesus made that declaration, it is finished. In that moment when he bowed his head and he gave up his spirit, the earth began to shake. The veil, the curtain that was in the temple, was torn in two from top to bottom, that tombs were emptied. The Centurion who was there present, who would oversee the death of Jesus, oversee his crucifixion, he declared truly, this was the son of God. This definitive moment in history. And yet it feels like all hope is lost.
He was supposed to be the one. He was supposed to be the savior, the one who would redeem God’s people and bring them back. And yet He’s dead. Again, now we know what happens three days later. That’s why we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter, but on all Sundays it’s why we gather for resurrection Sunday.
And we celebrate that. He is no longer in the tomb. He is alive and he is ascended, and he is seated ruling and reigning the right hand of God right now. But when he made that statement, it is finished, it begs the question, what? What has been finished? What is completed? What was achieved by his death?
Because it surely seems like it wasn’t just part of the simple action of playing out of where he would have to die so he can be raised again. No, it’s much more than that. You see when Jesus died on the cross, what he did is he paid the debt of our sin in full. Not only that, but he cleansed us from the stain of sin which clings to us, and much more, we are now reconciled in a relationship to God.
In order for us to understand this, for us even be able to comprehend why was this necessary, we have to recognize that there was a barrier that existed between us and God. I think the best way for us to understand this is that there’s a brokenness in the relationship and that brokenness, that barrier that exists is, is what we call sin. It’s simply missing the mark. It’s missing the mark of how God would lay out for us, what a loving, trusting relationship would look like. Or there’s a commitment that’s made to one another and with all effort maintaining that relationship, and that’s from the very beginning from our first parents, we’ve turned away from God.
We have rebelled, we have committed treason against him, we have disobeyed, we’ve turned away. I think of any sort of relationship that you have, if that were to take place, if there were to be, uh, a breach of trust, if there were to be obligations that weren’t met, if there were expectations that were turned aside from just simple disobedience, of course those relationships would be broken. You see that exists and it exists in both the things that we choose to do and not do, but it’s also more in our nature as well, where there is a fundamental barrier that exists in the relationship between us and God.
We are culpable for the things we do. There are very few people that if you were to ask, who would ever say that they’ve been guilt-free all their lives, that they would never have felt a, a pain or a pang of con conviction, where there would be something where they would say, I wish I wouldn’t have done this.
You know, the no regrets type approach to life. I think almost everybody can understand that there’s been moments in our lives where we’ve miss-stepped. Where we’ve selfishly made a decision to do what was best for us at the expense of others. For the Christian, what that is, that’s a sense of conviction. The holy spirit leading you and turning you away from those selfish desires and recognizing that there was a design in the relationship that you were to have.
The way that you were designed, the way the relationship was initially installed for us to have a relationship with God, that because of these things that we’ve done, this sin that we’ve committed, there’s a brokenness in the relationship. Here’s what the world will tell you what to do with that. It acknowledges there’s a barrier, but now it says, turn within and find the strength within yourself to make amends for that. To outweigh your bad deeds with good deeds in a word it’s to self-atone.
Where the world around us will tell us to find the strength from within and rise up above this and that you can achieve. But friends, this is the hard truth of sin and the righteousness of God is that we can never self-atone. The barrier exists, and the barrier can only be removed by God. But that is the beauty of the good news of our savior Jesus Christ, is that he was the one that was counted as the sufficient sacrifice to pay for our sin. We’ve all accumulated a ledger that is just dripping with red. A ledger that is full of guilt. It’s full of conviction. It’s full of our shame. And we’ve accrued this debt on our own behalf.
And so, we’re buried under this mountain of sin debt. And when Jesus declared it is finished, my friends, what I want you to find, is hope and knowing that your debt has been erased. Fully and completely by the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross. You see, he gave up his life so that we might have life. Life in the fullest. Life in this life and the next. A life that is free of sin, free of guilt, free of shame and condemnation.
That is the good news that changes the way we live. Those three words, the Jesus declared it is finished, they actually are fundamentally rooted in the word that is an accounting term. I, I know you’re excited to hear this accounting. Fantastic. Think of this, the word is to tell a story which means paid in full.
Just think about it from a, a billing standpoint, if you will., an invoice that you would get in the mail, uh, maybe a payment plan that you’re on, that you can see that there’s an outstanding balance and you can pay a little bit each and every month, but you work hard to get to that point where you’d be able to pay it off in full. Except the analogy breaks down.
Of course, because when it’s in regard to our disobedience to God and our rebellion to him, the sin that we would carry, we can never pay that balance down to zero. We will never be able to because we’ll always contribute more to the ledger. You know, God in his mercy and in his grace sent his son Jesus and saw him as a right sacrifice to pay the penalty for all of it. All of it. All of it from the past. All of it in the present and all of the future sins that we are to. All of the future barriers that we are to erect between us and God, and one another. All of it’s been paid for. The death of Jesus was found to be completely sufficient to pay the entirety of our debt. That is good news. He perfectly and fully forever paid off our sin debt. And part of the good news of the gospel is that while we’re not off the hook, we’re not the agent of action in this.
And in fact, we often try to get back to that place where we want to be able to atone for ourselves. We want to make amends. We want to be able to pay down that debt on our own, but God would declare that this is not something that would be on our own. It would be something that would be given to us. You see, it’s a free gift. It displays God’s mercy and his grace to us. It is a gift that we would not be able to earn, otherwise it wouldn’t be a gift if we could earn it and obtain it on our own, but it is God’s gift to us. And we were so undeserving when we received this. We didn’t prove to God that we were acceptable to receive this.
We didn’t earn it. Friends, we read in the scriptures that we weren’t able to make amends on our own. But in fact, while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly for you, and for me., God shows his love for us, and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And we have now been justified by his blood.
You see, this means that it’s not just that our sin has been paid for, and we are cleansed from his sin, that we’ve been released from the stain of that, that our ledger has now been paid in full forever, completely, but we’re also reconciled in a relationship to God. You see it wasn’t just that our sin was removed. It was that on the flip side, Jesus also gave us his righteousness. You see, he lived the perfect life, live a life of full dependence, full obedience, full faith, and belief in the will of the father, and trusting the goodness of God. Of reflecting the character in the glory of God who’s surrounding people.
So, Jesus was counted as righteous. That’s why he was the sufficient sacrifice for our sin. The fully righteous Jesus that would go to the cross has then given us his righteousness. God’s wrath turned to favor. The grace and the mercy of God on display. His character being revealed to us in a way of where it shows that he is loving and kind, and patient. The barrier has been removed. So, how does this change the way that we live? Well, it means that we are no longer debtors my friends. It means that we no longer carry a debt that we have to pay on our own. Think of it this way, think of it, we are inundated by advertising and marketing firms constantly to help a tone for our financial misgivings.
We’re constantly given opportunities to refinance at a lower interest rate or to do debt consolidation or transfer that to another credit card that would have an introductory APR for a few months before that interest rate would skyrocket. We try and pay down our debt and yet we can’t outpace the accumulated interest and we grow into just a mountain of debt.
It grows, it continues. What if your debt was completely wiped away? Will that change the way you live? You know, it’s funny, there’s a popular author and radio personality that helps people get out of debt. And as he has people work through their debt snowball, and they continue to put money towards the things that were holding them back and they get to this place where they begin, they can become debt free. He brings them onto their show, and he has a ring a bell, and y’all we’re debt free. Friends, you and I are debt free and it’s not out of a financial economy. It is the currency of our soul. It is that our soul has been released from the stain, from the guilt, from the condemnation, from the burden of sin.
When Jesus said it is finished, it declared we are debt-free. Our burden and our debt paid in full. It also means that we don’t have to live in the shame of our guilt anymore. This one’s harder done than said because we carry it along with us. In fact, we have an enemy that would remind us of it that would condemn us of our missteps and our rebellion and the ways that we failed each other.
Think of it this way, we might be someone that would be convicted of a crime, justly by the way, and we’d be put into shackles and thrown into a jail cell and the door closes, it locks. We’re confined. And one would come and declare us to be not guilty. One would come to declares to say whatever penalty and sentence that you would need to serve for your crime, it has been served. Fully satisfied. The courts are found no more needed. And so, the jailer would come and he would open the door and he would leave the it open for you and you would come and he would undo the shackles from the walls. And yet, what do we do? We, some of us, we don’t even get up out of that jail cell. We feel confined, still. Encapsulated, captivated, incarcerated, by our shame. Some of us might pull a shelf up by our bootstraps and get the courage to walk out of that cell. Yet we still drag behind us the chain that would point to our condemnation. My friends, you’ve been set free. You’re no longer condemned. You’re debt-free.
So, when Jesus said it is finished, it means that we can be freed from those chains. We can be loosened from those shackles. We can be set free from that jail cell of the guilt and condemnation that we once walked. God has brought us into his family because the death of Jesus was sufficient. It was sufficient to satisfy the wrath of God. It was sufficient to pay for the debt and fully. Was sufficient to redeem us from our guilt and our shame. The death of Jesus is sufficient for you. And the love of God is sufficient to remind you today that you’re no longer a debtor. To remind you today, that you have been brought into his family. To remind you today, that he sees you as righteous as Jesus Christ
the righteous would plead in front of the father advocating on your behalf. That you have been reconciled in your relationship to God. It changes the way we live. This sufficiency means that we never need to live in fear or anxiety. That you just simply enough. If anyone is in Christ, if anyone has given their life and their faith and their hope and their trust to Jesus, he is a new creation, the old has passed away and behold the new has come.
And all of this, all of this is from God who through Christ reconciled us to himself, and then he gave us a charge. He gave us a ministry that we are to go with purpose. It is the ministry of reconciliation that is in Christ. God was reconciling the world to himself. If you didn’t count their trespasses against them because Jesus paid for that. He paid for that in full any entrusted us this message of reconciliation. God would therefore declare that we are ambassadors. We are ambassadors for Christ. God is making his appeal through us. God is demonstrating to the world who he is through you. Friends, let me tell you some good news. There is a God that loves you deeply. He is the all-powerful, majestic, holy and loving God of the Bible. And he has given his most precious son to pay for your debt. Paid in full. And he’s brought you back into relationship with himself. Some of you already know this God, and today he might be calling you back to restore that relationship. It might be broken.
It might be strained, and God is there without stretch hands saying, come home. Some of you doubt that this God is good or you’re suspicious that it requires something more of you. You’re just waiting for the rug to be pulled out from underneath you. And you ask the question, it can’t be that simple, can it? My friends. I want you to find great hope in the fact that it is fully and completely finished. It’s not of our own doing. It’s the free gift of God, and it’s why we can on a day, like good Friday, on the day when we remember the death of the savior, we can find hope and joy and truly declared to be good.
Narrator: Again, we want to thank George Fox University for sponsoring this episode of Experience Resurrection. To learn more about how you can be known at George Fox University, visit georgefox.edu. Thank you for downloading Experience Resurrection, and don’t forget to share it with a friend. Let’s keep building our faith together.
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