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Those Three Hours

Written by Angela McColgin on

 

How do you remember Good Friday? Knowing that Sunday is coming might cause you to quickly skip over this day of pain and anguish, but we must never forget that the cost paid on Friday is what brings us Sunday’s joy.

Each Gospel writer records the events that gave rise to this sobering day of remembrance.

Luke’s account reads:

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Luke 23:44-47)

Mark quotes the centurion as well – “ Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)

John’s focus is on three words – “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

What happened during those dreadfully dark and anguish-filled hours from twelve to three? Of all people, why Jesus? Why death on a cross?

The Prophet Isaiah explains what has hidden by the blackness of Calvary,

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

He endured this suffering for us, for you and for me, so that we could become children of God.

Hear the words of God,

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more we shall be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10, emphasis added)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace.  (Ephesians 1:7, emphasis added)

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18, emphasis added)

Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28, emphasis added)

These are but tastes of the riches of the Father’s grace. What a love! What a cost!

On this Good Friday, with lively faith –

See the curtain in the temple – “torn in two from top to bottom.

Hear the loud voice proclaim“It is finished.”

Understand the mystery “Certainly this man was innocent!” “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

If you are wandering far, with a wasted life, in desperate need, filled with a gnawing hunger will this be the day you receive these promises by faith?

Turn toward home“I will arise and go to my Father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:18-19)

Receive the riches of grace “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced and kissed him….” (Luke 15:20)

God is gracious, a Father who lavishly welcomes each repentant son.  He is waiting for you.

 


Acknowledgments: The content of this post inspired by a 2014 Easter letter from my father. I thank God for the many ways he speaks truth to his “Little Flock” of children and grandchildren, encouraging and challenging us and always pointing us back to the wonder and mystery of the gospel.


 

Angela McColgin

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