1.Isaiah 52:13-53:12
2.Hebrews 4:14-16;5:7-9
3.John 18:1-19:42

Theme “ It is finished”
As this evening we celebrate the Good Friday, the cross of Christ brings us face to face with him. We have heard from the passion narrative as we heard it last Sunday that Jesus’ death was humiliating and agonizing. We hear Jesus being executed for the claims he made to be like God his Father, to forgive sins etc.
Jews expected a King who could free them from tyranny of foreign domination, thus when they heard about the advent of Messiah they expected that he could free them from the tyranny of foreign domination. They expected Jesus to be a political Messiah, but all in all this was not the mission of Jesus, the mission of Jesus was the cross, not the political reign. The mission of Jesus was to serve, to give his life for his brothers and sisters that is why we hear today prophet Isaiah speaking of the suffering servant; he was talking of Messiah who could free man from the state of sin. We won’t find greater proof of God’s love to mankind than the willing sacrifice of His son on the cross. The cross of Christ is the triumph over death that is why we hear Jesus at his last hour uttering the sentence that “it is finished.” (Jn 19:30). Jesus uttered the word ‘it is finished’ the word Jesus uttered in Greek it is just one word “TETELESTAI”, what does it mean? Years ago scholars dug up, in Holy land, a tax collectors record and one of them had the word ‘tetelestai’on top, It is finished, in other words it paid in full. When Jesus said “it is finished” he meant you don’t owe debt by your sins. It is paid in full. He said ‘I am thirsty for the cancellation of our debt and his thirsty (give me a drink, he told the woman, then he said it I who will give you living water). He was thirsty to save us and he said this thirsty is finished our sins are completely forgiven Jesus in his last breath is making us new creation as he breathed his spirit to those who followed him up to his last moment on the cross.
In the cross of Christ we see his triumph over his enemies- sin, Satan, and death. The cross of Christ is the safe guard of our faith, the assurance of hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. Looking at the cross of Christ is not enough to be saved, but rather looking at the cross where Christ sacrificed his love for our salvation, we have to be transformed through contemplating how Jesus gave himself as the ransom for many.  The cross of Christ has to transform us from deep within, when looking upon the cross we should be transformed into the reality of Christ, to be transformed into the reality of Christ means we should have the same spirit of compassion, humility, forgiveness as Jesus forgave his executioners.
The cross of Christ should be also extended into our own life experience, it should be re- lived; we need to contextualize the cross of Christ in our today’s life experience. What we feel as the cross in our own lives should feel the gape of what missed in the cross and suffering of Christ. (Cf, Col 1:24). Our daily crosses should not be avoided, a Christian who is avoiding his/ daily cross is not a follower of Jesus, he/she is a betrayal of Jesus, a real follower of Jesus should not avoid his/her daily cross, and instead he/she should embrace the cross as part and parcel of Christian faith. The cross of Christ is inseparable with suffering. To accept suffering means to accept the cross. The mystery of suffering is the highest expression of Christian calling. This is the time we are reminded that in life we have got bright side and dark side. We need to embrace them all. Our identities as Christians will be materialized once we accept the will of God to be done in our own lives. The cross of Christ again should draw our attention to think the how God is our loving father, merciful, and compassionate.
In making sure that the saving work of Jesus is active and completed it needs to be welcomed, and absorbed by each of his faithful followers. The saving spirit of Jesus should be extended to those most in need (The poor, marginalized, orphans, and the displaced people).
Contemplating on the cross of Christ, this brings comfort and strength to those in need, more especially to our brothers and sisters being tormented by physical, psychological, social and spiritual miseries. As our Lord Jesus Christ was in agony of his death until he came into terms with his predicament, this also echoes every human experience of suffering and loss. Jesus today is united with us in our every day suffering. The crown of our daily crosses and suffering is shown at the cross of Jesus. Mature and responsible Christian is the one who accept to carry his/ her daily cross in following Jesus. Contemplating on the cross of Christ and re-living our past and present suffering memories reminds us that in our present suffering we carry the saving power of God.
The mystery of death should be accepted as the transition and not as the full stop in the rhythm of human life. Elizabeth Curbra Rosa, a Germany psychologist came up with stages of human death she had made a research on those who grieve and bereave.
1.      Denial and isolation. Example, to have a strong reaction against terminal illness.
2.      Anger. A situation where the reality is not yet accepted, instead God and others are blamed
3.      Bargaining. The situation where a lot of promises are made to God in case of the recovery from sickness.
4.      Depression. One to regret on how he has spent little time with his/ her children, friends and family.
5.      Acceptance. Reaching this stage is the gift not offered to everyone. Death may be sudden or unexpected. This period is marked with withdrawal or Calm.

As we celebrate this good Friday we need to bear in mind that following Christ needs us to be courageous in accepting our daily crosses and the mystery of suffering. We drink the same cup with Jesus if we accept to carry on our daily crosses.

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Chapisha Maoni