Those were the very words so vehemently shouted by the assembly as they stood before Pontius Pilot on that day… the day we have all come to know as Good Friday.
“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” (Luke 23:18).
It almost seems like a sacrilege to refer to the darkest day of mankind as somehow being good. Yet, even the saddest commemoration reminds us that in the face of sin, our goodness avails nothing! There is only one who is good, his name is Jesus Christ.
Every Good Friday, the Christian world sets her gaze upon the cross at Mt. Calvary. We try to comprehend the immeasurable cost that Jesus paid in order to redeem us back from the death sentence handed down by way the of fall of Adam.
It is the one day, where a holy silence is reverently held within the hearts of all mankind through out the world. There is no mass held in any Church or Cathedral. The organs and instruments usually sounded in praise and worship are silenced. All candles are snuffed out, while the religious ornaments are quietly removed from the altars, and the Cross is solemnly shrouded in a black veil.
Although our emphasis on this day is to focus on the death of Jesus Christ, it is not the mode of a funeral liturgy that we recognize. Instead, we approach this day with thankful hearts, because we know that the death we are venerating was not the end of the story…not by a long shot. Let us go now, and return in our mind to that day, two thousand years ago.
The scene is a very ominous one.
The ninth hour darkly approaches, as Jesus labors to inhale what will prove to be his last breath…his ebbing spirit rushes out with one last cry…
“IT IS FINISHED!”
The sky, responding to what it sees, blackens thickly and shamefully over the earth, as the ground violently quakes. The sacred form of a tortured man, now suspended between heaven and earth, becomes very still. The moment is a Holy one.
Suddenly, within the Temple, a loud “tearing” sound is heard.
All eyes watch as the sacred veil dramatically rips from top to bottom, and at that very moment, the divine scales of justice dramatically “tip” in favor of man!
Hallelujah! Every human soul is now graciously awarded the distinct privilege of having access into the very Holy of Holies…the glorious presence of our Living God!
The magnitude of the moment is an incredibly one! Legions of “Heavenly Witnesses” thunder forth torrents of deafening praise, as heralds of joy erupt spontaneously throughout the hallways of Glory! Upward and upward they rise to the very Throne room of the Father.
‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1 :29).
All Glory to our Savior!
So, while our hearts are heavy because Jesus had to die that day, and in that way… we are no less filled with awe and overwhelmed with inexpressible joy, at the display of pure love that God so graciously poured out to all mankind.
For God so loved the world that He GAVE his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
And so it is with grateful hearts that we recognize that there really is no other adjective that could best describe this particular day… the day we have all come to know and love as…
Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28b- 30)