28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
What do we normally do in with this passage? We weep, don’t we? Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, we get teary eyed, especially if we have seen The Passion. The imagery of an innocent man dying for those who do not deserve it is hard for us to bear. Innocent death is never easy for most to handle. We see some sort of injustice involved. Even those of us who are related to the military somehow tend to have a scornful sadness when a brother or sister in arms is killed as a result of war. Why? Why do we feel this inner guilt, shame, or otherwise disdain? Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. Other times it seems senseless or pointless. We burden ourselves with someone’s death, not knowing what to really do with it.
On “Good Friday,” we become mournful. Why? It is a good day! It is a great day! We should be rejoicing! We read the scriptures and see the sadness of the community, especially Jesus’ followers and disciples, and we join them as if we don’t know the rest of the story. As one of my pastors loves to say, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not to be a sorrowful and mournful death! This is a joyous occasion! It wasn’t just Jesus who died that day, it was us who died as well! I discussed in Take Up Your Trash and Follow Me that it was our junk that was crucified that day. The term “it is finished” that Jesus used here is the term that the Roman tax collectors used when they stamped the tax form indicating he debt had been paid in full. I actually did a study on all the implications of this: It Is Finished.
There is freedom in Christ’s death. You know, through my experience in the military, there is a phrase that tends to be used regarding the price of freedom. “For those who fight for it, freedom has a flavor the free will never know.” This case, however, is the exception. Jesus not only fought for our freedom, but He gives us the full taste of it…if we venture to have it, that is.
So why do we burden ourselves with His death? He even died for those who persecuted Him and hung Him on the cross. We are forgiven, the burden is lifted, so why do we burden ourselves anymore? We simply accept His forgiveness and live out the new life He has granted us through the power of His redeeming love.
What are you burdened with today? Why do you live with that burden any longer? Let us claim the freedom that has been given us and live free!