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What Luther Says

Prayerfully Considering Jesus' Last Words On Good Friday

Yes, "Good Friday" commemorates the day when Jesus Christ Himself said, "IT IS FINISHED" (John 19:30; emphasis mine) as His last words upon the cross.

Now, we don't know if it was said barely above a whisper, in a regular audible tone, or was more of a shout (even though Mark 15:37 might give us a hint).

Truth is, it doesn't matter HOW Jesus said these incredible words! All that matters is that HE SAID THEM and they are for you, for me, and for all mankind!

However, is it wrong for me to "hear" that definitive, life-changing statement as though it had an EXCLAMATION POINT at the end of it instead of merely a PERIOD, since it's a comforting reminder of what's still to come thanks to our Lord and Savior?

I admit that it's entirely speculative on my part, but am I wrong to "hear" it this way myself? What does this mean? It means that while Jesus' work of atonement was TRULY FINISHED, and the forgiveness of sins was truly secured by His work upon the cross in our place this day some 2,000+ years ago, I'm still EXCITED and HOPEFUL for what's still to come on Saturday, Sunday, and for all eternity!

As a fellow sister in Christ once put it...

"AND I HAVE HOPE FOR FRIDAY. Good Friday. The day that He was crucified unjustly for MY sins (the sins I commit every day, in thought, word, and deed). The day He took the sentence of 'guilty' in my place so that I could stand before God as innocent. The day He suffered, died, and was buried because of His love for us all.

AND I HAVE HOPE FOR SATURDAY. That cold, dark day He spent in the grave. Apart from His Father. Apart from this world that HE created. Apart from the glory He so rightly deserves. I have hope for that long, black day.

AND I HAVE HOPE FOR SUNDAY. The best day! The day to remember and celebrate that He didn't stay dead and cold in that mountainous tomb. The day to remember that He overcame death and the grave so that I wouldn't have to spend eternity in one myself. The day to remember and celebrate that I now have a clean slate and a clear path to God the Father. I've been pronounced 'not guilty' because Jesus volunteered as tribute in my place and now I get to live a life of hope, knowing my eternity is secure with the Lord!

So it is a weird thing to flippantly say 'Happy Easter' to the gal at the grocery store checkouts. Yeah, it really is -- especially if you don't think about what it means apart from the Easter Bunny and marshmallow Peeps.

But at the same time, I AM happy about Easter. I'm happy that it wasn't me on that cross. I'm happy that God loved me so much He would send His son to take my place on it. I'm happy that I get to serve that kind of God! And I'm happy because such a love as that gives me a hope for this thing called life in all of its ups and downs. It's a loaded statement, and a paradoxical one when taken apart at its' seams. But a truer statement couldn't come from my mouth this week, no matter how flip it may sound when the words tumble out."

Now you know the reasons for my own EXCITEMENT, HOPE, and JOY on a day like today, and why I prefer to hear Jesus's last words upon the cross with an EXCLAMATION POINT (1 Peter 3:15).

I'll let one of our church fathers, C.F.W. Walther, have the final say on things as he ties it all together quite nicely while also explaining why we're so HOPEFUL even on such a brutally violent and sad day like Good Friday.

"The Good Friday Divine Service is actually a continuation of the Maundy Thursday Divine Service from yesterday. What was begun then, continues this night, as we journey with our Savior from the Last Supper, through his stripping and humiliation, to the cross and tomb for you, for me, and for all mankind. What's so 'good' about Good Friday? Baptized Saints, Good Friday's cross is 'your sanctuary in the agony of sin, your hope's anchor in affliction, your victory banner in the battle win sin, world, and Satan, your heavenly ladder in the hour of your death.'"


NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Healthcare Recruiting Manager, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast in Buffalo, NY. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as 'an informal Public Journal of sorts' about my own experiences and journey." So if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, "Praise the Lord! Thanks be to God!" but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor at all times. Trust, but always verify. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this lengthy disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 9 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you're a Lifelong Lutheran who believes that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but so that I can also repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran B-A-S-I-C-S was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little more "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical demanding I correct them or take them down entirely, but because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing and sanctifying work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life from then until now (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the Holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my own Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages too since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean by that! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#Trending" at the time, but is about all the things that I'm studying or thinking about myself at the moment instead. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts where I've done all the research for you already to help save you valuable time). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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