Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)
“it is accomplished.”
We have listened to the story of Jesus giving his life for us. John the Evangelist tells us that the reason for this was love; love of the Father and love of his disciples. Love cannot be compelled or forced: it is freely given.
In John’s version of the passion, it is Jesus who is in charge of what happens, so that it is in fact Pilate who finds himself on trial not Jesus.
In John’s gospel Jesus has no need of help; there is no Simon of Cyrene to assist him with the carrying of the cross. He takes up his own cross and marches to Calvary, which is the scene of his last mission and him revealing God to the world. His last words which we have pondered and meditated upon this past week in our Holy week devotions are not a cry of reproach, accusing God of abandoning him, but indeed they are a shout of triumph:
“it is accomplished, - “It is finished.”
Earlier he had explained to his disciples that the good shepherd is the one who lays down his life for the sheep: he acted this out when he washed the feet of the disciples, including Judas. John tells us that Jesus did all this out of love: “Now he showed how perfect his love was.” We can understand this when we consider Jesus on the cross.
In the final scene of today’s passion reading, we meet once more the character called Nicodemus, he is no longer a shadowy figure who comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness. Now he appears boldly in broad daylight to assist in the solemn burial of Jesus, which involves a royal and extravagant amount of spices and oils. He has thus moved from unbelief and curiosity to faith in Jesus.
Jesus summed up the message of the 4th gospel, which reached its climax in the paschal event which we are celebrating today. Jesus told Nicodemus; “ God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
Thoughts to Ponder:
Is it too good to be true?
Could someone love us enough to give their life so that we might live?
Would someone be prepared to die in our place?
We can understand mothers or fathers being ready to sacrifice themselves for their child, but would anyone else feel the same way about another person?
As you know I have received the gift of a liver from a lady called Sarah nearly 21 years this next week; her death and her departing wishes meant that I could live, so I have a little understanding in this matter.
I often find myself thinking about Sarah and her act of love towards me, and others who receive vitals organs to help them too. Sarah’s family will always bear the loss, but they also bear a hope that her life wasn’t in vain.
This is true for so many of us who have received life from another.
How much more then are we who have received the life of Christ to be thankful for his death this day.
Jesus mission was to reveal God’s love for humanity and invite us into a relationship with God, into a friendship with God. Throughout John’s gospel story we are given examples of people coming to believe in Jesus, growing in the appreciation of who he is and what he means to them.
Today we are invited to consider that the cross is more about love than it is about justice.
No one can love more than to lay down their life for their friend.
How will you respond to Jesus love for you today?