Thank you for your introduction and also for your ministry here because this is phenomenal to behold. Men who are here gathered for teaching and for Bible study. So, I’m grateful for what you do here. I’m particularly grateful to be here today, as Richard said, on Good Friday. This is the day. This is the day that changed everything forever. The first Good Friday is the day that changed everything forever. On this day, a 33-year old Man, younger than I’d say about 95 percent of us here. A 33-year old Man walked out of Jerusalem city gates with a cross on His back and a crown of thorns on His head and it changed everything forever. This is the day that this Man was spit upon, mocked, whipped, scourged, insulted, and it changed everything forever. This is the day when this 33-year old Man was nailed to a cross; one spike through His left hand, one spike through His right hand, one spike through His bound feet and it changed everything forever. On this day, Good Friday, this 33-year old Man hanging between two crooks died from exhaustion, asphyxiation, exsanguination, the loss of blood, and dehydration and it changed everything forever. This day, moments before this Man died, He cried out a three-word sentence that I want to focus in on in this talk that changed everything forever. He said, “It is finished.” From the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” And, with these words, He bowed His head and He gave up His spirit.
Now, there’s nothing remarkable about a man dying, is there? People die every day. The two thieves on either side of Jesus died the same death He did; people die every day, in the Middle East, with SARS. People that you know die every day. Chances are, actually, that some of us here, this Good Friday, will be dead by next Good Friday. And, that your death, when you die, will have an impact on a number of people: your wife, your children, maybe some college roommates, your coworkers. But it won’t change everything forever. So, the question I want to ask is why? Why did one Man’s death change everything forever when He cried out, “It is finished.”
Now, why can His death change everything forever for you? What did Jesus mean when He cried out, “It is finished?” What does that mean for me? What do those words from the cross mean for me? How can that long-ago crucifixion of a 33-year old Jewish Man have an immediate, explosive, laser-like impact on who I am and what I do when I get up out of this chair this morning. And, you get up from your chair and you walk to your office, no matter what you do. Whether you’re a doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. This death on the cross has an explosive impact on me right now. Why?
So, a Man died on the cross and said, “It is finished.” So what?
Well, from the outside, it doesn’t seem like much, that a Man died on a cross. I’ve heard the Gospel likened to a jalapeño pepper; it looks cold on the outside but when you bite into it, it will burn like no tomorrow. Ingest the Gospel, understand it down to the core of your being and it will burn its way down to every fiber of your being and have an impact on everything that you do and every decision that you make. How you spend your money. How you treat your wife. How you treat your ex-wife. How you discipline your children. Everything you do, this Man’s death on the cross wants to touch. Why? How?
See, do you see what I’m trying to do this morning, immediately is raise the stakes, raise the level of what happened so high this morning that it really, if you understand it, and you really absorb it and you are taken to the emotional and psychological, the ontological cleaners with it, you can’t help but walk out of here as a changed man. There’s nothing more important than Jesus’ crying from the cross, “It is finished.”
Now, this is why what I’ve just said is why I dread people finding out what I do. When I’m sitting in on a poker group or joining a golf group. This is why I dread people finding out what I do because inevitably, the jokes come about no cussing, and no drinking, and no betting, and no smoking. And, they’re all well-worn jokes. And, you know, I kind of politely listen to them, but inside I’m thinking, “Give me a break! Give me a break!” And, they’re all made with good humor, although a lot of times people are reacting to something that they’ve grown up with. But I’m thinking, “How can you reduce the extraordinary import of this Man’s death on the cross, the earth-shaking import of Good Friday?” And, in fact, literally, there was an earthquake the first Good Friday. “How can you reduce that to surface morality? How can you reduce that to a Bud Lite?”
Back to the question. Back to the question. Why did Jesus’ death change everything forever? What did He mean when He said, “It is finished?” Well, the answer glimmers all through scripture, but it’s packaged precisely in Romans 1:17, a verse I want to read to you this morning.
“For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed. A righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith. For in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed.”
Let me unpack that a second. Christianity, you see, is, it’s glaringly different from every other religion, every other world-view, every other philosophy. All the talk that you hear about how all roads lead up the same mountain, how it’s all one God and we’re just worshipping different faces of Him, that’s all rubbish; it’s all nonsense. And, you scratch it and it doesn’t make sense below the surface. It’s pawned off as tolerance. But in fact, it would be deeply offensive to tell a Muslim that we worship the same God. It would be deeply offensive.
Franklin Graham was clearly injudicious when he called Islam an evil religion recently. But he was not wrong in asserting that the God of the Christians and the God of the Muslims is a different God. And, any Muslim worth his salt would tell you that. But Christianity, it parts ways with Islam and all other religions in a startling way. See, in every other system, every other thought, every other world view, man has to work his way toward God. Man has to work himself toward God. Most people, except the Unitarians, realize that there’s a chasm between man and God and that that chasm must be bridged. And, that man must do something in order to reach out and bridge that chasm between him and God.
For example, Muslims must obey Allah and must remain pure in order to be accepted. At death, in the Koran, Allah weighs on these scales the good that you’ve done and the bad that you’ve done, and if the good that you’ve done outweighs the bad, and Allah is so inclined, then you’re accepted in. Jews must follow the law; note all the Kosher shopping going on right now. Hindus and Buddhists have a whole structure of the design to reduce the influence of the self and eventually obliterate the power of the self, so you become selfless and enter into nirvana. See, in all, in other words, all these systems it’s first I must perform. First, I must do something to be made right, then I will be okay. If I can do it, then I will be made righteous. That’s what religion is. Religion is a system designed to make you fit, to be righteous before God, and be accepted into His presence.
See, Christianity, on the other hand, is the end of that; it’s not a religion. It’s the end of religion. Christianity reverses the thing completely. Christianity says that man is incapable, completely incapable, of getting himself right with God, no matter how hard he tries. “So, if you can’t come to me,” God says, “I’m coming to you. I’m not content to let the chasm stand between you and me.” Why? Because the chasm is death. Because the chasm is death. The chasm is as big as the Grand Canyon. And, no matter how hard you try to leap across, whether through your good works and all your effort, you leap 20 feet. Or, through your lack of good works and no effort, you leap one foot. The end result is the same; death at the bottom of the chasm. “The wages of sin is death,” Paul says in Romans. And, we, in fact, deserve death is the word from Christianity because we’ve all turned away from God deliberately. And, 100 percent of the way, each one of us. But, God says, “I’m not content to let you stay in that state. So, I’m coming to you because I love the world and I love you, individually.” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that all that would believe in Him should not perish at the bottom of that chasm, but have everlasting life.
See, the center point for God bridging that gap is today; Good Friday. It’s the 33-year old Man on the cross. The cross is the bridge between God and man by which we are connected. It is by Jesus’ death on the cross only that we’re made right by God. It is through this act that God’s righteousness is revealed. We can’t be righteous, so He gave us righteousness in Christ. A righteousness, as Paul says, “that is ours by faith from first to last.” See, when Christ cried out, “It is finished,” in effect, He was saying this: “All your striving to be made righteous and made right is finished. All your trying to get it right, it’s done. I am your Savior. If you could do it yourself, then you wouldn’t need Me. Everything now is changed forever. The stakes are different now. You are accepted now, not because of what you have done, but because of what I have done. It is finished. All of your performance anxiety can hit the road.”
That’s the Gospel. That’s the Gospel.
And, note two things about this Gospel. In the Passion account, the account in Scripture of Jesus’ last week on earth before he died. On Good Friday, today, the temple curtain, which symbolized the distance, that chasm between God, the Holy God, and sinful man who couldn’t be in His presence. In the holy of holies, in the Jewish temple, that temple curtain, at the moment of the crucifixion, was torn in two from top to bottom, so that we could come in through the cross to the presence of God. And, note that it was torn, the Bible says, “from top to bottom.” Not bottom to top, where we could grab onto it and do it ourselves, but from top to bottom, indicating it has nothing to do with you and me.
And, note another thing, that when Jesus accomplished salvation on the cross, He was deserted by everyone without exception. 100 percent of the crowd, all of us and many, many more, voted for a criminal to be released instead of the Lord. 100 percent. And, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was arrested the night before He died, every disciple fled. Every single one. They did nothing to help salvation get accomplished. That’s a historical picture of the fact that we do nothing to help our salvation get accomplished either.
That’s the Gospel. That’s the Gospel. That’s the first, last, bedrock, all the through and through of what it means to be a Christian. We’re made righteous through nothing of our own. It’s not a righteousness that’s earned in any way, shape, or form. It’s a righteousness that’s revealed through God. And, I’m going to return to this in more depth in a sec.
Now, if this news that I’ve just delivered hasn’t changed everything for you forever in your life, then maybe you haven’t bitten into the pepper. Maybe you haven’t bitten into the pepper and released its burn down into every fiber of your being. I also think there’s a reason for it. I want to suggest that we are deeply, defiantly resistant to this message. We are resistant to being saved by grace. We want to do something to contribute. So, we look for other kinds of righteousness. We look for other ways to be accepted, other ways to be saved, other ways to be made okay, other ways that we can wake up in the morning and say, “I’m okay.” And, in so doing these things, we reject the Man on the cross. Because we want to be our own saviors. It’s the accomplished, educated, privileged, American way.
What do I mean? What do I mean when I say that we attempt to save ourselves? Well, I’m going to list out some ways.
Martin Luther in one of his commentaries outlined different kinds of righteousness. He wanted us to understand that there are other forms of righteousness that, in fact, we can work at ourselves in order to accomplish. We can work out ourselves in our own strength and through our own efforts. And, I think that we run slavishly to one form of these or another like a crack cocaine addict after his drug because we’re addicted to his own power to make things right for ourselves.
What are they? But first, I want to give you a little test. I want to give you a little test.
Archbishop William Temple had a test by which a person could discover his actual motivational operational real religion, his real means of being made righteous. Imagine for a second that you are absolutely alone for hours on end. You have nothing to do. You have nowhere to go. You have no children needing anything. Your job doesn’t need anything from you. I realize this is a virtual impossibility for most people here, but just imagine that you have nothing that makes any kind of claim on your mind. Your mind is unfettered; it’s free to go wherever it wants to go. Here is the question. In that scene, where does your mind of its own will go? Where does it go? Where it goes, Temple says, “is your real religion.”
I want to give you six alternate forms of righteousness. Six ways that we seek to be made okay, acceptable, right. And, none of these ways, mind you, are wrong in themselves. But they only become wrong when we look to them to be our alternate saviors. Six ways.
The first way, the first kind of righteousness is a political, civil righteousness. This righteousness that says this: I am made right by following the laws of the land. I am made right by being a good citizen. I get my identity, I understand who I am and know that I’m okay because I’m an American. Or, I follow the Boy Scout pledge. Seems to me that patriotism is a hot topic now. It falls under this. That, again, there’s nothing wrong with patriotism. But when you look to that to make you right, and acceptable, and good, then you’ve looked in the wrong direction. That’s the first kind of righteousness.
The second is a social righteousness. There is a kind of social righteousness. I am made right by acting, dressing, speaking, carrying myself correctly, according to the traditions or mores of a particular culture or group. Now, this is a biggie. I look around the room this morning and we all, pretty much, look like each other. And, I think, why? I wonder how many grey, or actually, maybe champagne was the word, SUV’s are in the parking lot this morning. I know there is one because I drove it here this morning. When I was in Charlottesville, there was a private school called STAB, St. Anne’s Belfield, and I noticed that all the kids that went there all had this exact same hair that hung down. They put their chins in like that; they all walked a little bow-legged like that, carrying their lacrosse sticks. There was this intense pressure to be able to fit into this social righteousness to be made right. But it doesn’t stop in high school, does it?
You know, family identity is another biggie for this. I’m made right by being who I am in my family. You know, if you’re like me, your father said, “Son, remember who you are. You’re a Walker.” Well, Walker men, we have cleft chins. Walker men, well, we’re from the Eastern shore of Virginia. We fish. We wear khakis and blue blazers and we don’t marry Yankees. This is what we do as Walker men. I am made right when I can fit into that social righteousness. And, it goes from anything. It goes from STAB to NASCAR to you name it. Every single group has its own pressures to say, if you will be like me you will be accepted. If you will be like us you will be accepted.
Political, civil righteousness, a social righteousness. A relational righteousness. I’m going to up the ante with each one of these. A relational righteousness. I am made right by being attractive and loved by people. I’m made okay, there’s something that’s in my core that’s made right if I am attractive and loved by people. Now, this clearly holds court in high school when popularity rules the day. But it doesn’t stop there either. That’s why I think so many people come home exhausted from dinner parties because they’re so worried about being loved and being attractive to the people around them. They get home and they’re worn out from it.
I also find that this kind of, I don’t know if it fits in this particular righteousness, but this shows up at least with men in the realm of sports, wanting to be attractive and loved and held up. I play tennis and I hate to lose at tennis. My game, my tennis game, is thoroughly unconverted. You know, I’m not above throwing my racket. In fact, Richard saw me the other day out here and I was a little worried he was going to rescind his invitation when he saw me play. You know, I call myself, and occasionally my opponents very rude names. I don’t actually cheat on the close calls, but I really, really want to. What’s up with that? Why/ I mean how pathetic is that? For a 38-year old guy who plays b-level tennis, maybe once or twice a week, to want to win so badly against another middle-aged washout guy. That’s pathetic! And, golf is even worse! It can only be that I think I’m made right by being seen as a jock or a good tennis player, or a guy who can do it all.
Intellectual righteousness. I’m made right by what I know and how brilliantly I can express it. Do you really like to be around very smart people? Most people hate to be around very smart people because they feel dumb. The dean of the Advent, Paul Zahl is, I think, one of the smartest men alive. But he’s also easy to be around, I think. But I’ve had more than one person come up to me at the Advent and say, “Paul? I really like it when you preach because you’re not as smart as Paul Zahl.” Thanks, I think. You know? It’s like, “You don’t sweat much for a fat girl.” I mean, do you ever feel like before you go to some gathering you’ve got to bone up on the left-wing existentialist or the Wall Street Journal. Or whatever it is so that you won’t be made to feel like a fool; you’ll be accepted in. You’ll be fitting into this intellectual righteousness; you’ll be made right by your intellect.
Five. Vocational righteousness. And, this is when the heat really gets up for men. I am made right by my career achievement, right? I’m made right by my success, my money, my talent, and my vocation. This is the classic male form of alternative righteousness. And, we will, including me, sacrifice everything at its altar. Our wives will leave us. Our children will not know us because we’re at work. We will become totally one-dimensional in our lives to become vocationally righteous. To be seen as a success by other people and what we do so we will feel right. If we find ourselves out of work, God forbid fired, let go, it will utterly devastate us and our sense of ourselves. We won’t know who we are. That’s why men, so many men get depressed when they retire. They’ve had 50 years of vocational righteousness saying, “You’re okay because you’re doing this.” Then, one day to get the gold watch, then the next day their wife is telling them to get out from underfoot. Then the next day, they try to take up fly fishing. Then the next day, they’re on antidepressants. We are what we do. That is wired into our hard drive as men.
Well, before I go to the last form of this righteousness, I want you to think for a minute where this hits home for you. Where are you looking, practically, operationally, motivationally, to be made okay? Because every one of you is. Don’t tell me you’re not because every one of you is because it’s the human condition for everyone without exception. There are a million other kinds as well. Ask yourself this question, though. If blank were to happen, if blank were to happen, I would fall apart. I would have a nervous breakdown. If this were to happen in my life, I couldn’t cope. Locate the source of your performance anxiety and you have it, and you will locate how you are trying to save yourself.
A man named Tim Keller is one of my real heroes. He’s a Presbyterian minister in Manhattan. He’s a brilliant preacher, great insights to the scripture. I listen to his tapes with a kind of an addictive urgency. I love them but I also hate them because I’m thinking, why didn’t I think of that? Or, how could he be so brilliant? But he told a story about himself not long ago that connected. He said that every Saturday night, between 11 and 11:30 in the evening, he’s gripped in this uncontrollable anxiety. And, he said why? What’s that about? And, every night, he thinks, he looks at his sermon for the next day, and he thinks, this is really, really stupid. What kind of moron would preach this? And, I’m thinking, this is the greatest guy on the scene. How could he think that? Well, in my attempt for vocational righteousness, I could relate to this. I work hard on a sermon all week. And, I’ll think, man, this is really good! This is straight from God; this is profound and brilliant. But then Saturday night, a little voice will come to me and say, “This stinks! You are an idiot! And, guess what? When you stand up and preach this to 1,200 people tomorrow, 1,200 people are going to know you’re an idiot, too!” Why? Why?
Well, what’s at the bottom of this is why do we suffer through this? Tim and I, maybe Tim, maybe mine because it could be true. But, Tim, anyway, Tim believes that our righteousness is achieved not through faith in Christ but through preaching, but through performing.
What about you? What’s the locus of your anxiety? You know, where do you believe that if you didn’t perform well it would fall apart for you? That’s practically where you’re going to be made right.
Well, there’s one more alternative form of righteousness that’s tricky because we’re told again and again and again by people like me, that we ought to be doing it. And, it seems right and good. And, that’s finally the moral or religious righteousness. I am made right by obeying God’s commands and living a moral life and a Godly life. See, many Christians believe in principle that they’re saved by grace through faith is righteousness revealed from the outside. But when it comes to living out the life of faith, then they think it’s up to them. They’re going to buckle down and use all their willpower, and they’re going to obey God’s commandments. And, they’re going to have their quiet times, and they’re going to love their neighbors, and going to work hard to pray. And, they’re going to tithe, and they go to church. And, they’re going to go to Friday morning breakfast at the club, and they’re going to go to a Bible study. They’re going to check off your spiritual duties for the day.
Don’t you see? To do this with this attitude is to take the very guts out of Christianity and what makes it unique. By your righteousness in doing these things, and following a moral, religious way, you have returned to performance equals acceptance, which is the way the world works. And, you’ve become your own savior. See, the most startling thing about Christianity is that we don’t only have to repent of our sins, we’ve got to repent of our righteousness! Not bad works but good works! Because we slavishly go to them, to rely on them, so we don’t have to rely on Him on the cross. It’s radical. It’s so strange that Christians are accused of being self-righteous. Because if you think there’s any shred of anything in you that deserves it or is better than another person, you haven’t bitten down into the pepper!
The bitter truth about all these other forms of righteousness is that they will all let you down as well. Always demand more from you than you can give. Eventually, see, your body will break down, and social righteousness will show you no mercy. Eventually, your brain will atrophy. And, intellectual righteousness will show you no mercy. Eventually, the SEC will come knocking on your door and vocational righteousness will show you no mercy. Eventually, see, the blows of life itself and you know this will rest your fingers from the control that you thought you had over your life and your circumstances. They’ll all fail you miserably.
But God doesn’t leave us in this failure. Otherwise, we’d end up killing ourselves or living in denial. See, but when we’re ready when we’re at that point to lay down our arms and say that’s not doing it for me, that’s not doing it for me, that’s not doing it for me, that’s not doing it for me! Then, we look up again, or maybe for the first time, to that 33-year old Man hanging on the cross, saying, “It is finished!”
You’re striving to be made okay; it’s done! Your slavish pandering after this fake righteousness. It’s finished! See, the real sadness is we’re so obsessed with our own power to be our own savior is that we fail to look up and see what He’s done for us. And, what has He done for us?
Let’s go back to the Man on the cross. Let’s return to the Gospel. Let’s approach it a couple of different ways because it’s counterintuitive and it’s hard for us to get the burn down to our toes.
See, Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of my heroes, compiled recently a list of 100 greatest villains and heroes in the cinema. Wouldn’t you know it? I love it as much as you when at the end of a guy movie, you know the bad guy bites the dust at the hands of the good guy; it’s cathartic. It resonates with our sense of justice. The Gospel is counterintuitive to that sense. In the Gospel, it’s not the bad guy who gets it in the end, it’s the good guy. It’s not the good guy who kills the bad guy, it’s the good guy who’s killed for the bad guy. In the Gospel story, you and I are the bad guy.
All, we, like sheep, have gone astray, each to our own way. So, what happens? Do we bite the dust? No! The Lord laid the iniquity of us all on the Man on the cross. Jesus Christ is your substitute. He died the death you deserve and He gave you His righteousness back. Substitution is the essence of sin and salvation. We have substituted ourselves for God, saying, “I will run this show.” God has substituted Himself for us on the cross, saying, “I will take the penalty.”
What’s hard for us to digest is that we have nothing to do with the salvation except say yes. It’s alien to us, foreign to us. It comes from the outside. It doesn’t rise up within us.
I love Bruce Springsteen’s new CD. There’s a track on it about the firefighters at 911 who went up the stairs to the Trade Center, and into the fire. Into the Fire, the track’s called. And, there’s an ascending chorus of gospel singers in the background, as Springsteen in his own way, belts out,
“May your strength give us strength. May your faith give us faith. May your hope give us hope. May your love give us love.”
He’s singing to the firefighters. “May your love give us love.” But note, there’s a deeper meaning. Note the order: faith, hope, love. Where have you heard that before? You’ve heard it in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, where he says, “The greatest of these is love.” And, he is wanting for this Corinthian body to have the faith, hope, and love of Jesus Christ. We sing this to the Man on the cross. Not that we would be inspired to mimic His; we can’t do that! But that His actual faith, strength, hope, love would become ours. Ours! It would be credited to us because of what He’s done on the cross.
Let me give you another example of how radically outside of us this salvation is. Imagine you’ve died. It’s not next Good Friday; it’s next week and you’ve died. You’ve gone to be judged. St. Peter takes you into a movie theater, sits you down, gives you some popcorn, some Coke. And, says, “We’ve got a way here that we decide who goes up and who goes down. Just sit back and relax. What we’re going to do is we’re going to play your entire life on the screen. If the good, (Islamic), if the good outweighs the bad, then you’re in heaven. If not, you go to hell.” Well, you choke on your popcorn, you spill your Coke. Immediately slink down and think it’s all gone. And, then he says, “Oh, by the way, we have this special heavenly surround-around system where not only what you’ve done, but everything you’ve ever thought will be broadcast as well.” So, you start packing your bags for the trip. You only get to about fourth grade and you know you’re a goner. But as the curtains open, something strange and wonderful happens. You look at the screen, and it’s not your life that’s up there on the screen being judged. You see the life of Jesus Christ. His faith. His strength. His hope. His love. It culminates in His death on the cross for you.
And, you think, “It’s got to be some kind of mistake. What is this?” It’s no mistake. It is outside you. As you look to Him in faith with your life, His life is credited to you. Is it fair? No! It’s not fair. Is it love? Yes! Is it grace? Yes! Its righteousness revealed by the Gospel and taken on by faith.
“Every little touch would hurt my conscience but one day as I was passing through a field, suddenly I thought of a sentence. Your righteousness is in heaven. And, with the eyes of faith, I saw Christ sitting at God’s right hand. And, suddenly, I realized there is my righteousness! Whatever I was, whatever I was doing, God cannot say where is your righteousness? For it was right before Him! I saw that my good frame of heart could not make me righteous or a bad frame of heart could make my righteousness worse. For my righteousness was Jesus Christ. The same yesterday, today, forever. You can do nothing that will make God love you more. You can do nothing that will make God love you less. Now, my chains fell off, indeed! I felt delivered from slavery to fear and guilt. I went home rejoicing for the love and grace of God.”
Your life, since it is like every other man’s life in this room this morning, including my own, suffers the slings and arrows of fortune. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever. Your mood goes up and down like a rollercoaster. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever. Your ability, your looks, your talent, your job will come and go with the wind. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever. Your strength, your faith, your hope, your love will all fail you 100 percent of the time. Jesus Christ will not fail you. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Many yesterdays ago, on this very day, Good Friday, the same Jesus Christ walked out of the Jerusalem city gates with a cross on His back, and a crown of thorns on His head. And, it changed everything forever. The same Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross, one spike in His left hand, one spike in His right hand, one spike through His bound feet, for you. And, in your place, where you deserve to be. And, it changed everything forever! This same Jesus Christ, knowing that all was now completed, cried out, “It is finished!” With that, He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.
This Good Friday morning, will you not give up your spirit for Him? This Good Friday morning, will you not accept totally His work on the cross for you? Aren’t you tired at working at your own righteousness? All the ways that will eventually turn on you anyway, like a fierce traitor. This Good Friday morning, will you not look to Him on the cross and trust Him with your life? Thank Him for what He’s done for you? And, lay down your arms of control at the foot of the cross? It is finished.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus, You stretched out Your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross when we deserved to be there. You have said to us, each one of us this morning, why? Why would you look for another Savior when I’m here for you? I pray now for each one of us, for those of us who are feeling the burn of the pepper, way down for the first time. By Your Holy Spirit, grab our hearts. For those of us who have felt that burn but have wandered into other false forms of righteousness, forgive us. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, turn us to You, that we may trust in You and You alone with our lives. This Good Friday and forever, we pray in Your precious name. Amen.