Reading 1: IS 52:13—53:12
Responsorial Psalm: PS 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Reading 2: HEB 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: JN 18:1—19:42
Liturgical colour: Red.
Roman crucifixion was designed to produce a slow, agonizing death. It involved as much suffering and shame as possible. This excruciating form of public execution was bloody, violent and extremely repulsive. The Jews believed if you were crucified, you were under God’s curse (Deuteronomy 21:23). It was on a Roman cross that Our dear Lord Jesus, who knew no sin, bore the sacrificial price for all of our sin.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus was repeatedly mocked, he was spat upon and he was flogged. His body was beaten so severely, He was hardly recognizable. Soldiers stripped Him and led Him outside the city to die a criminal’s death. While on the cross, passersby hurled insults at Him. The religious leaders taunted Him as they attacked His power to save. Even the two thieves who were being crucified beside Him heaped insults on Jesus.
For a short while, I want you to think about what Jesus has done for us all through his death on the cross. Visualise in our minds our suffering Saviour. Think about the love that God has for each and every one of us, and offer him our profound and sincere thanks. Let us each ask God to wrap us tightly in his love – forgiving us, watching over us, guiding us. If anyone feels that Jesus and his love for them are not real for a large part of their life, simply ask for his help, he will always answer your call.
Jesus died on the cross to get rid of the power of sin that condemned us. His death bridged the deep gulf between God and us. “It is finished”, Jesus cried. But by saying this, Jesus didn’t mean he was finished? NO! He is now sat at the Right hand of God the Father, and will come again in Glory to judge the living and the dead. By Jesus’s statement of “It is finished!”, Our Lord meant that the restoration of the friendship between God and humanity had been finished. The task for which God’s Son came to earth had been completed.
He has won forgiveness and the possibility salvation for all people.
Nothing else needed to be done.
Salvation is complete. “It is finished”.
We call today “Good Friday”. It certainly was the farthest from being a good day for Our Lord Jesus. He endured excruciating pain, soul-wrenching agony, hanging by the nails in his hands, feet and side for hours, death on that rough wooden cross, for all of our sakes. We call today “Good Friday” because the cross is sure and definite proof of the powerful and ultimate love that God has for each of us. Here we see a love that was prepared to endure the ultimate in order to rescue us.
Paul writes, “God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! … We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son.” (Romans 5:8,10). That’s how much God loves us – Jesus died for us even though we don’t deserve it. His death has made us God’s children.
Jesus’ announcement, “It is finished” is clear and simple. Jesus has completed his task. The reason why he came as a human amongst us has been fulfilled. He came so that you and I can have forgiveness and salvation. He came to give us the victory over death. He came to ensure that we could enter his kingdom and live with Him forever.
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We remember today, the pain and suffering of the cross, and all that your Son, Our Lord Jesus was willing to endure, so we could be set free. He paid the price, such a great sacrifice, to offer us the gift of eternal life.
Help us never to take for granted this huge gift of love on our behalf. Help us to be reminded of the price that was paid for our sin. Forgive us for being too busy, or distracted by other things, for not fully recognizing what your Son freely gave to fulfill your will for us, for the sacrifice that was done for us.