April 7, 2023
Today’s Reading: John 18:1-19:42
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Everybody’s made the joke about “Good” Friday. Good for us. Bad for Him. It’s not just of boomers, but of the devil. Satan can never undo what was finished when Jesus died to save you. So he tries to twist it, whispering that this sacrifice might not be good in Jesus’ eyes. That you should feel guilt when you look at the cross. Look at the suffering our Lord endured because you sinned. Could you really meet His eye there? Satan tries to work guilt from the cross Jesus willingly bore to bring you comfort. He didn’t die on the cross so you would feel bad about it. He died to forgive you.
Yes. He hurt for you. He hurt because of you. Why’s that bad? Not just good for us, but for Him too. He was willing to drink of this cup to the dregs for you. He rejoiced to see this hour where you were saved. If you want to feel guilt, look to the Law, look to the Word of God whom you say you love and then disregard so quickly, look to the people you hurt, look to the damage you do to yourself even though God calls you precious. See the damage your sin has done, the things you’ve broken. Sin is bad. It breaks stuff. Feel bad about that, but when you feel guilty that Jesus suffered and died for you, it’s really only guilt that someone would dare to love you that much. That’s a value question that you don’t get to decide. God shows your value. More than silver or gold. Holy precious blood. Innocent suffering and death. This is what you are worth. This is how priceless you are. You are worth that much.
It was Love that put Him there for you, and yes it hurt, yes it’s graphic, but He said it Himself, if this is how to save His beloved, He will go, not just against His will, but even gladly. Good Friday wasn’t just good for you and bad for Jesus. It was good for Him too, because He got to do for His beloved that which He was given to do. He got to love you, because love looks like something. Not just a feeling. An expression. A sacrifice. Love looks like this. And Jesus loves you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Here we have a firm foundation, Here the refuge of the lost: Christ, the Rock of our salvation, Is the name of which we boast; Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, Sacrifice to cancel guilt! None shall ever be confounded Who on Him their hope have built. (Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted, LSB 451:4)
– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Jonathan Lackey is an LCMS seminarian.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.