A Prayer for Good Friday

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And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 NIV)

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46 (NIV)

“It is finished.” John 19:30 (NIV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, for years I struggled calling the day of your crucifixion “good.” How presumptuous on our part. That there had to be a day when you—the eternally glorious Son of God, would be made sin for us, is not good at all. But at the same time, that you would freely and gladly give yourself for us on the cross, is never-to-be surpassed goodness—quintessential goodness.

     Oh, the wonder of it all. From the cross, and from your heart, came these two impassioned cries. “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34) and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). The first required the second. The second secured the first. Together, they humble our hearts and fuel our worship.

     And then there’s the third cry. “It is finished.” Nothing is left undone, concerning our salvation and for the transformation of our world. Once and for all—perfectly and fully, we have been reconciled to God. You became sin for us, that in you, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21)—the Just for the unjust, the Beautiful One for the broken ones, the Lamb of God for the rebels from God.

     Lord Jesus, a millions years into our life in the new heaven and new earth, we will still be stunned with awe, worship, and gratitude for the greatness of your sacrifice and love for us. Because you were fully forsaken, we are forever forgiven. Because you exhausted God’s judgment against our numberless sins, we now live by the gift of your perfect righteousness. Bow our heads in humility and raise our hands in praise. So very Amen we pray, in your all-glorious, all-grace-full name.

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