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Friday, April 10

Be Still (Part 2) Crosses. There are crosses everywhere.  There are crosses on steeples and t-shirts and necklaces and billboards and tattoos. We see them on flags and at cemeteries and at hospitals and on ambulances. We see crosses everywhere. Today is known as ‘Good Friday’. Good Friday, the day that people of faith remember as the day Jesus was crucified and died on a cross. Some people think the cross is like a good luck charm, like a 4-leaf clover or a lucky rabbit’s foot. Others think that cross is like a logo, like Nike’s swoosh or McDonalds arches. But, to believers, it is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. But, why is it called ‘good’ and what’s so ‘good about it?  What’s so ‘good’ about the Friday when Jesus died on a cross? What’s so ‘good’ about the crucifixion, the most barbarous, shameful, painful way to die. We even have a word that was invented to describe crucifixion, the word ‘excruciating’. In Denmark, it’s called ‘Long Friday’ - a pretty fitting name for the brutal hours that stretched from sunrise to sunset, from His beating to His burial. So, why call the day of Jesus’ death on a cross Good Friday instead of Bad Friday or something similar? And, what is so ‘good’ about Good Friday?  Romans 5:8  - But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to us.  So, on the cross on that Friday. . . all of the sin, all the mistakes, all of the junk, piles onto one life. On the cross on that Friday Jesus took all of our sins. Somehow the ugliness of sin was heaped on him. The same Jesus who was worshipped in the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke by angels and shepherds and wise men. . . he is the same one who in the end is humiliated and spit on, abused and jeered and beaten and whipped and nailed to a Roman cross.    And after hanging on the cross for 6 hours he took his last breath.  But, before he dies, before that last breath, the sky becomes dark, the ground trembles, rocks start to explode, tombs open up, freaky things happen, there is catastrophe in the temple and he says his last words on the cross, ‘It Is Finished’. The Greek word for ‘It Is Finished’ is the word ‘tetelestai’. In the Greek it implies that something has come to an end, it has been completed, perfected, accomplished in the full.  

In Palestine during this time, if you paid off a loan, or when you had paid a bill in full, they would write a word across that note. If a criminal had completed serving their time and was finished serving their sentence, there was a word that was said to them. It was the same word – ‘tetelestai’. It means Paid in Full. It’s over. It’s complete. It’s finished.

So, when Jesus said from the cross ‘tetelestai’. . . He was saying to you and me, your bill, your debt, your sins have been paid in full. 

That’s ‘why’ we call it ‘Good Friday’ and that’s what makes it ‘good’!

Go search and study the different religions of the world. You will find no other religion where their god dies for them. You will find none that tell you that their god pays the debt for them. I promise you that you will only find one where God pays the debt for you. Other than Christianity, there are no other religions where their god died for them.  

So, on this Good Friday. . .

‘Be Still’ and remember what God did for you on the cross.

‘Be Still’ and realize how much God loves you. . . enough to sacrifice his only son. 

‘Be Still’ and thank God for the word ‘tetelestai’ and for Him paying your debt.

‘Be Still’ and read John 3:16. (and maybe read it at 3:16pm this afternoon)   

‘Be Still’ and find a cross to gaze at for a few minutes (ask God to forgive you of your sins)  

It’s Good Friday!  But, there’s more. . .  Sunday Is Coming! 

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