Good Friday stands before us a bit of a reality check. Despite all the evidence we in Australia seem to be given to outward displays of optimism about human nature and our abilities which fly in the face of reality.
Reinhold Niebuhr remarked many years ago that no amount of contrary evidence seems to disturb humanity’s good opinion of itself. Yet the inner reality is different and possibly more realistic since there is much tension, fear, uncertainty and despair amongst us.
Thankfully, Good Friday, where the Son of God willingly and lovingly allowed Himself to bear the consequences of humanities sin upon Himself, is not only a confirmation from God that we are hopelessly sinful through and through but of His mercy toward us.
How good it is to have a reality check. To find out that my brakes are faulty before I’m driving down the South Eastern Freeway is a real boon. Better now than later even if it means I’ve to get them attended to and pay the price.
Good Friday is God’s clearest diagnosis that we are sinners whose sin offends Him greatly. Once faced up to, remedial action can be taken. We go to God with a genuine sorry on our lips, with an expression of trust from our hearts and we find that He is willing to pardon us. And the cost? Here is the wonder of it all. He has born it in full. And the benefits? We will not come to grief either at The Judgement (since Jesus took that for us on the Cross) nor in life (since Jesus as our living Saviour, through His Spirit, puts the brake on our sinful and foolish passions). No wonder we call the day, Good Friday.
One of Jesus’ words from the Cross was “it is finished”. The word means “paid in full” and was used by the 1st century accountants. What an extraordinary act of kindness on the part of the Lord Jesus to make it possible for our accrued debt to be discharged. To benefit from this kindness we need only to own the awful reality of an indebtedness that we could never settle and the wonderful kindness of the once crucified but now risen Lord Jesus.
There is no future in being an optimist or a pessimist but a great future for those who are realists.