"Tetelestai's Friday", Sermon / John 19:17-30 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Good Friday April 19th 2019 / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: John 19:17-30
Theme: “Tetelestai’s Friday (Sorrow and Joy)”
Intr – A week is just a week. After Monday comes Tuesday, we anticipate what Thursday will bring. We know that we only have to wait for Saturday and Sunday to come. And then the next week starts the process all over again.
A week is completely different though when we have something unpleasant coming up ahead. When it is still Monday, and your appointment to know the results of the exams about a very preoccupying thing in your body will be only on Friday, it changes the game completely. Every day then becomes a full day. Every hour becomes a complete hour. It is not just a matter of waiting for the weekend now, and the next week, and the next month. The weekly waiting game now is in a completely different level. Friday is the limit of your timeline. Friday only, and nothing after that.
Jesus had this type of Friday ahead of Him early that first Holy Week, when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. That Sunday was a festive one, but Friday was looming in the horizon. Jesus’ Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…they certainly didn’t look like the ones before. The game they were playing against Him was playing out well on His enemies’ side - at least from a merely human standpoint. Friday lied ahead of Him like a daunting wait for unpleasant results we wish would never come.
One might say: “Well, but He was God, so that should be a piece of cake for Him, or at least not as daunting as the problems I have that hamper my steps towards my next stage of life”. Yes, He was God. But He was human too. Jesus was going to be beaten; He was going to sweat blood; He was going to say a surprising prayer on Thursday night, about the possibility of him not enduring His Friday. His waiting game would be a very disturbing, distressing one. He knew though that He had to endure it. That’s precisely what He came for in the first place.
Then Friday eventually came. And we know why that was a terrible one. That was not a good morning starter for a great weekend. A terrible, awful one seemed to be the only possible reality as a closing to that week.
Now, how bad was all of that? We know, being nailed to a cross is a terrible thing to think of. But still dozens of criminals received that same treatment under the Roman empire. Does Jesus’ passion and death equal with theirs? When we have difficulty to grasp what exactly happen on that day, we can make this exercise. Usually we think only of the body, the physical pain that Jesus endured - which was surely massive. But now, think about one single sin you committed yesterday. Just you and just one. Now, one single sin from everyone at Church today (city; country; the whole world). Now think about all sins of all people of all time. Jesus was bearing the sins of the world. That is of all the people of all time. That is something absolutely unfathomable for our human minds to even begin to conceive.
He went to the cross, He faced his Dark Friday. He gave up his life so that we can live and have forgiveness for all of our sins. All.of.our.sins.
Waiting for a dreadful Friday in our lives could bring us many different words to mind. “Fear, pain, sorrow, angst.” Good Friday, that dark Friday, brings then a word heard the world ‘round that changes de game: Tetelestai. It is finished. This word changed the day. It changed the year, the world. This word changes your world.
This brings us to our theme for today in our Lenten Series: Sorrow and Joy. While everything so far looks like pointing only to sorrow on that week, especially on that Friday, tetelestai proclaims the joy hidden away in that grizzly, horrible scene.
Nothing is left to be done. Tetelestai. Nothing is left to be said. Tetelestai. No one is left behind these words. Tetelestai is for the whole World.
Tetelestai – That cross bears the Son of God. That Cross bears the Author and Perfecter of our faith. That cross bears the most complete, finished, encompassing work of all time.
That week changed everything. It started in joy, it turned into sorrow, deep sorrow; almost unbearable sorrow. But with Tetelestai Jesus inaugurates joy again. It is finished. More than 4,000k years of expecting hope in God’s promises are consummated, finished, completed in that verbal form that indicates something done in the past but will effects still in the present. The literal Greek text of the Bible doesn’t leave room for a bit of doubt:sorrow, sin, hell, condemnation, are wiped away. He finished it. It is done. That’s why we can call it even a Good Friday. We could call it also the FreeDay. The day when with his Tetelestai Jesus completed the work of salvation. Our chains are gone. We have been set free. The Good Friday was not the end of the timeline, as the devil an many may have concluded. Something was finished for sure, Christ work. But something has just begun.
In our daily life, still we’ll have our Fridays; our terrible Mondays, our not so sweet Sundays. Sorrow continues to sneak into our lives because we continue to be sinful. As you face those days remember that Friday. As that Dark Friday was not the end of the timeline, but was followed by Easter weekend, so our timeline, our timeframe, they have Jesus all the time after our dark Fridays; or weeks; or even years. Remember the sorrow turned into joy which is applied to you through faith, and through faith only. Remember what is finished for you and can never be changed forever. Remember that He walks with you week to week, holding you by your hand and walking with you the way. Remember:
Cc – Tetelestai. From a Friday that changed History to this day on your week. Rejoice even in sorrow. Rejubilate even in pain. Sing praises to your Lord even in angst. He is the one who finished everything – tetelestai - so that your life may have a New Beginning and a blessed end. Every week of our lives, one after the other; until the last one. Amen.