Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 28:46
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the day in Holy Week we call “Good Friday”. I’ve always felt conflicted about calling the day of your crucifixion “good.” It seems a bit self-serving. That there had to be a day when you, the God who made us for yourself, would be made sin for us, is not good at all.
BUT… on the other hand, that you would so freely and fully give yourself for us on the cross is quintessential, archetypical, never-to-be surpassed goodness. There never has been, and there never will be, anything that is more deserving of the appellation, “good”, than your death for us. For out of the same heart… out of the same mouth came these two cries from the cross: “Father forgive them…”, and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The first required the second. The second secured the first. Together, both of them buckle my knees… still my heart… and loose my tongue…
Yet, how can I even begin to adequately express the wonder, love and praise I feel in response to what you’ve done for me on the cross? It’s like wanting to paint the most magnificent spring landscape I’ve ever seen, but with a palate of three colors and both of my arms in a cast. It’s like having a passion to write a great symphony in honor of you, but knowing I’m just a kazoo player who doesn’t read music. It’s like desiring to cook you a great banquet… with my microwave oven, a loaf of white bread and a can of cheese whiz. There’s simply no way I can possibly offer a response congruent to the magnificence of your mercy and the measure of your grace for me at Calvary…
So like everything else I have to offer you, Jesus, take my humble praise and purify it, magnify it and cause it to be an sweet aroma in your heart. No one could ever take your life from you and I could never find life on my own. Because you were fully forsaken, I am forever forgiven. Because you exhausted God’s judgment against my foul sin, I now live by the gift of your perfect righteousness. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! So very Amen, I pray, in your all glorious, all gracious name.
By Scottie Smith