It is finished

Reading: Romans 11

I ask then: did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah – how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me’? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? ‘I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Good Friday and Easter – the days of God’s overpowering acts in history, acts in which God’s judgment and grace were revealed to all the world – are just around the corner. Judgment in those hours in which Jesus Christ, our Lord, hung on the cross; grace in that hour in which death was swallowed up in victory. It was not human beings who accomplished anything here; no, God alone did it. He came to human beings in infinite love. He judged what is human. And he granted grace beyond any merit.

Sermon in Barcelona  11 March 1928

Thought

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46), Jesus prays aloud. "It is finished," and with that he bows his head and dies (John 19:30). It had all happened the way it had to happen. The love of God had appeared on earth in humiliation, shame, and disgrace. On the cross the wrath of God slew his own Son for the wickedness of the world, for the wickedness of the world had nailed the Son to the cross.

On Good Friday let us not think right away about the fact that with Easter things were given a new direction. We want to think about how with the death of Jesus the disciples saw all hope dashed. Scattered from each other, they brooded in hopeless sorrow about what had happened. Only when we can take the death of Jesus just as seriously as they did, will we rightly understand what the resurrection message can bring.