IN NOMINE JESU
The end has come. What had its humble beginning in a stable in Bethlehem had its humiliating end on a cross outside Jerusalem: the life of Jesus of Nazareth. What began in the Jordan River reached its conclusion atop Mount Calvary: the earthly ministry of the Christ of God. On one day, within a matter of hours, it was all over; it was finished, and the devil could not stand it, for the Christ had the last word, one word which felled the foe: tetelesthai, a Greek word that means "it is finished" of 'it has been completed." When the devil heard Jesus utter this word from the cross, he knew he had been defeated once and for all. For the grand foe, this was not a good Friday. Although he bruised the heel of the long-promised Messiah, the Christ crushed his head with that one word, tetelesthai: "It is finished!" The devil's hold on sinful man was finished. In hell he cried out in anguish while the crucified Lord cried out a word of victory from the cross. Tetelesthai: "It is finished!"
What is also finished is sin's hold on us. We struggle with sin. We are steeped in sin. We were all conceived and born in sin. Despite our best intentions, which pave the road to hell, we still sin against God, doing what He forbids and not doing what He requires. First and foremost, He requires that we follow Him, even to the point of death. Yet the wages of sin is death, for we have not followed Him as we ought. We do not fear, love, and trust in Him above all things. We lack a proper First Commandment relationship with God. This is the result of our fallen nature. Man once possessed the image of God, but it was lost in the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. Without the image of God, without the holiness of God, we are finished.
What is finished is the hold of the unholy triad over us: the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh. We are no longer slaves to them but slaves to Christ. He did what we cannot do, make full payment for our sins. We cannot make satisfaction for our sins, for we are by nature sinful and unclean and cannot finish atoning for our sins. For this reason Christ, the Lamb of God, took away the sin of the world, has mercy on us, and grants us His peace. The only offering that could be made for sin and be accepted by God is the sacrifice of the Lamb without blemish or defect. Christ our great High Priest became our Sacrifice when He offered Himself up to death for us. He has paid the price for us. The sacrifice is completed. It is finished: tetelesthai!
The sacrifice for our sins is completed. The tyranny of the devil is finished. Our Father's love for us has been perfected by the all-atoning and self-sacrificing act of love by His Son on the cross. This love He communicates to us today in His Word and again in the body and blood of our Lord. The body of Christ that was nailed to the cross He gives us to eat, and the blood which poured from His sacred veins He gives us to drink. Today, Good Friday, we come to the Lord's Table with thankful hearts for this means of God's grace, for through it we receive the forgiveness of sins which our Lord won for us on the cross.
Yes, we are thankful, not mournful, this day. The altar is bare. The color for this day is black. Yes, we observe Good Friday not to mourn but to remember the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the death He died for us…for the forgiveness of our sins. For this now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices. As we leave here in silence today, reflecting upon our Lord's death, the Holy Spirit turns our hearts and our focus toward Easter day, the eighth day of Holy Week, the first day of the new creation—the Resurrection of Our Lord. Behold, He makes all things new. Tetelesthai: It is finished! Thanks be to God! Amen.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
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