Good Friday was a couple weeks ago and all over Facebook I saw posts saying "It Is Finished."
I couldn't help but wonder how many people were wondering what was finished. Did they take a test? Did they clean their house? Get the kids to bed? What is it--what is finished?
So, if you were wondering, I'm going to try to explain it. I won't do it perfectly, so here's it is finished, as explained by Heather.
Good Friday is when Christians celebrate--celebrate might not be the best word--the crucifixion of Jesus. Before He died, Jesus said "It is finished."
So, what is finished?
First, and probably most obvious, is the crucifixion. John reports that these were His very last words before He died. His earthly suffering was ending.
Second: In the Jewish temple, there was a place called the Holy of Holies where only a certain priest could enter on one day each year. This was because God's presence resided in that area of the temple and only a specific priest, after extensive sacrifices and ceremonial cleansing, could enter into God's presence. There was a heavy curtain that kept this area of the temple separate from the rest. It was this heavy curtain that was ripped--from top to bottom--at the moment of Jesus death. It is finished. In removing that curtain Jesus removed the barrier, allowing anyone to enter into God's presence. No longer would there be a need for an earthly, ceremonial cleansing. Jesus' death and subsequent suffering satisfied the required punishment for the sins of the whole world, which provided for the shedding of the ceremonial laws of animal and food sacrifice as this one sacrifice was enough for all mankind. It changed the requirements from daily and annual sacrifices to only faith. Faith is something anyone can partake in. No exceptions. Addicted to drugs? You can have faith. Covered in lesions? You can have faith. Can't walk to the temple? You can have faith. Can't follow your own rules or guidelines you've set for yourself? You can have faith. Jesus declared that the ceremonial cleansing requirement was finished (completed by His sacrifice) and now all who believed with a confident faith, could enter into the presence of God.
Third: His work was finished. After arriving in Heaven, Paul tells us that Jesus sat down. As our new High Priest, sitting down is extremely telling. There was no where to sit in the Jewish Temple. There was a single mercy seat or, literally, seat of grace, that was inside the Holy of Holies mentioned above, and it was not for sitting on. There was no where to sit because the work of a Jewish Priest was never done. As sins were always being committed, the Priest was constantly performing sacrifices for others' sins. By sitting down Jesus again marks the completion of His work. He had done everything necessary to allow for a relationship between humans and God. He was finished.
So why do we celebrate the death of this man who has done so much for us?
Firstly, because He did not stay dead. He died, then He stopped being dead. Second, because now we have an open and free relationship with God. The One who created us, knows us better than ourselves, knows our future, knows why when we don't understand.
There is pain and trouble in life. Jesus' death and our acceptance of His sacrifice does not rid of us these troubles or pain, but it does allow us to see outside of our circumstances when we otherwise wouldn't be able to. Our confident faith gives us the ability to trust God with anything that comes our way. It removes our fear of death. It pries us from the sins we want to cling to because they're familiar and fills our hands with grace and peace. And that is worth celebrating. We celebrate Jesus' death because we choose the see the bigger picture and we are so so so glad it is finished.