Finished on Friday
Have you ever started a project not knowing what it would take to bring it to completion?
Olivia asked me to help her paint and stress a bookcase in our house, and I readily agreed. In the beginning, I romanticized the project. I thought of how fun it would be to work on something together. I went outside and felt the warm, spring air. I imagined us bringing the bookcase into our garage and working in the shade and fresh air. Oh, the fun we would have!
In the beginning, I did not imagine the setbacks, frustrations, and time-consuming nature of the project. And for many reasons, this project was much more frustrating than enjoyable. What I thought would be a quick project actually stretched a day and a half and included two additional trips to Home Depot.
So much for quick and easy.
I remember staring at the bookcase (which actually looks great now, thanks for asking), and I thought, "If I knew all I would go through for you, I never would have begun."
In my finite brain, I couldn't foresee every step of the plan. And so I regretted beginning the project in the middle of the project.
Today is Good Friday. Today we remember Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, beaten and crucified on a cross for the sins of the entire world. Today we feel the sober reality of the depths of Jesus' sacrifice for us.
We know Easter is coming, and we celebrate the risen Christ. But we must never forget that Christ had to die in order to be raised. By His wounds, we are healed. Friday comes before Sunday.
Good Friday is a somber day. But I want to remind you of two things that should inspire worship in our hearts as we reflect on Jesus, the crucified King.
First, God was in control of every moment of the crucifixion. It appeared as if Jesus was losing; as if the circumstances proved everything He claimed to be was a lie. It seemed as if God had revoked all power from Christ, and He was rejected and cut off from God. Isaiah 53:4 predicted this confusion, "However, it was our sicknesses that He Himself bore,
and our pains that He carried; yet we ourselves assumed that He had been afflicted, struck down by God, and humiliated."
It seemed as if chaos was reigning. But even at the cross, God was working out His plan with exact, surgical precision. The plan of God, the mission of God was a mission that was introduced in Genesis 3:15 when God foretold of a Descendant of Eve who would be struck on the heel by the serpent only to crush the head of the serpent. Jesus crushed the head of Satan on the cross, fulfilling prophecies thousands of years before the events at Golgotha!
Paul describes the Father's plan in Christ as a plan executed with, "all wisdom and insight" (Eph 1:8). Jesus on the cross was not plan B. Jesus on the cross was not a desperate attempt to achieve victory. Jesus on the cross was the final step of God's perfect plan.
On the cross, Jesus cried, "It is finished." (John 19:30). What was finished? The mission of God to redeem the world. Jesus Christ finished the plan on Good Friday.
Second, the redemptive plan of God began before Genesis 3. We often refer to this prophecy about Christ because Genesis 3 is the first time that humanity is invited into the mystery of the gospel. God revealed the first piece of His plan in the Garden, but He did not formulate His plan in the Garden.
A key character trait of God is that He is omniscient. This means that He knows everything. There is no true concept or real event, past, present, or future that God does not know. And the most incredible application of God's omniscience is that He created you, knowing He would die for you. When did God learn He would die for you? Never. He doesn't learn anything, for He's always known everything.
When I began that bookcase I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
God knew the cost of redeeming humanity before He created humanity, and He was willing to pay it.
In Luke 14:27-28, Jesus taught, "27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"
We can never fully count the cost of any mission because we don't know the future. But Jesus could. He had the ability to see what it would take to build a redeemed people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. He counted the cost, and He had enough from the riches of His grace and the power of His blood to complete the mission.
Christ finished what He started. And we, the church, built upon Christ the cornerstone (Eph 2:20) continue His completed mission.
Dear friends, we hope you enjoy family and friends over the Easter weekend.
Eat some good food and hunt some eggs.
But above all, we urge you to worship this King who has finished the mission we could never finish. And His sacrifice, His finishing, gives us great hope for the future.
"being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6.