This is the ultimate defining moment of God’s infinite love for us. The world, all of humanity, had waited more than a millennium for this promised savior.
We have come to that time of this year where we are challenge to contemplate once again the eternal purpose and meaning of the Easter events. This passage takes us to the last last moments of Jesus’ life on earth. This is the precise moment of our salvation. It is for this reason that Jesus let go of his divinity and became one of us in all things, except for sin. This cross. This supreme sacrificial act is what brings about the forgiveness of sins, once, for all, forever.
This is the ultimate defining moment of God’s infinite love for us. The world, all of humanity, had waited more than a millennium for this promised savior. Jesus was the fulfillment of that promise of salvation made to Abraham. It was he who had been promised over and over again across the centuries through the prophets. And this is what he came to do on our behalf. Jesus, the Son of God, came among us, teaching us how to pray, how to love one another, how to be just toward one another in that love. And now, he is lifted up before us bloodied by the lash, the crown of thorns, the nails in his hands and feet. With his final breath he is still teaching us. For it is into the Father’s hands that we hope to commit our spirits when we breath our last. We will be able to do this because we believe in Jesus’ loving and perfect sacrifice done on our behalf on that crude cross 2,016 years ago now.
Like the centurion, we look upon this suffering Jesus and have our hearts broken open by our recognition of the perfect innocence of the Lamb who so willingly sacrificed himself to expiate the sins of the world. “Truly, this man was innocent.” After all, it would take perfect innocence to conquer the immense sea of human sinfulness from the beginning, to the present, and beyond, to the end of time. Jesus is that innocence. The One who became like us in all things except sin.
This Good Friday, let us stand before that cross in prayer. Let us look up at the innocent one suspended there between the utter rejection of earth and the silence of heaven. Let us look into his face. See him looking down from the cross at us, into our very eyes. Let us hear him speak to our hearts, saying, “It is because I love you that I do this for you.” Let us listen with the ears of your heart as he calls out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Let us weep with true sorrow. Let us sit with this thought; let it sink in. Let us live with it for a while, as we wait for the other side of the miracle to happen, when, on Easter Sunday we can celebrate with full throated joy at his resurrection. This is our salvation story! This death is not final. It is not an end. It is the necessary step that had to be taken in order to bring about the real beginning of salvation history, the Resurrection.
Lord, your love for us is beyond our understanding. We can only understand it in the light of faith. Help us to enter into the three most holy days of this Easter season with all of our being. Renew in us a love for your law, and the courage to love one another as you have loved us. We pray all of this in the power of your most holy name, Jesus. Amen!
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