“IT IS FINISHED; HE IS NOT”
Saint John 19. 17-42
GOOD FRIDAY: 29 March Anno Domini 2013
Fr. JW Watson SSP
It is finished; He is not!
One can smell death. One can smell sweat, and dirty bodies. One can smell blood—drive by a cattle yard or a slaughter house.
Were you there when they crucified The Lord? No.
But you are WHY they crucified the Lord; or better yet and more accurate, you are the ones that crucified the Lord Christ Jesus. Jews are not the reason that God died on Calvary. Roman soldiers are not the reason that the Nazarene was butchered on the Cross. Sin suffocated the Savior to death. Jesus choked to death, as if on vomit, on your daily trespasses and on your original condition of fallen traitor.
The sky darkened at noon and remained black till 3:00 pm. Your words of hate and selfishness blocked the sun; your thoughts of lust and greed dulled the eyes of the Son of God; and your actions of stealing and coveting torque those nails and spikes all the tighter.
There is no point, absolutely no point or purpose at all to be a Christian, to celebrate the Third Day, the Lord’s Day of Resurrection if you don’t weep, and grieve from the very soul over this day, this Good Friday, and every day.
Every day is Good because God loved you enough to lose His only begotten beloved Son. Every day is Good because Jesus loved you with Body and Blood, and Will and Desire. You should have been hanged on that tree; but because Christ stepped into the gap, and bridged the awful chasm between your sin and the Father’s almighty wrath and punishment for sin, that was the best, the “Goodest” Fridays in all of history.
He was whipped and slapped—you can smite your breast in contrition that His pain and humiliation was for your crimes. He was spit upon—you can trace the Holy Cross which was applied to you in not only His spittle, but the very water which gushed from His pierced side into the Blessed + Font. He was bathed not just in the darkness of three hours of climactic neglect and Fatherly abandonment. You can weep over your foul misdeeds; you can weep over the fact that you struggle to weep over your cause of this great, this Good effect.
Two guilty thieving goats crucified with the Innocent Lamb. Behold the two ways for one to receive the atoning gift and sacrificial fruit from His crucifix. One can either look with the eyes of the world and the “old Adam” at the black sky and dead Galilean, split open, bled out, dead and reject the Word to rely on sight. Or one, by the Spirit, can look with the eyes of faith at the Word and remember His words: “…destroy This Temple, and in three days I will raise It up.” [Jn. 2. 19] Grace has given you faith to look beyond the foul shroud of sin and night to the rising Son on the wing. By faith you look to the superscription above His sacred head, first wounded, then killed: JESUS OF NAZARETH KING OF THE JEWS. You believe He is Jesus, Savior, your Savior, you believe He is King of the New Israel, and of you. This God will triumph…He loves you too much to stay dead.
You depart with Mary, and Mary, and Salome, and Susana, and Joanna, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. And you wait in trembling anticipation…and in faith…It is finished; He is not.