It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
These few verses are filled with great richness. Jesus' death occurs in deep darkness; darkness has its way for a brief spell before its stranglehold on us is broken forever by Jesus' resurrection. The veil is torn in the Temple; Jesus opens up the way for us to enter the Holy of Holies with confidence and find grace at the Mercy Seat of God. In His final breath, Jesus entrusts everything to His Father in faith; in our worst of moments, we can know that no matter how forsaken we may feel, God will bring us to Himself in glory. Jesus takes His last breath and dies; each of us must one day give up our last breath, but because of Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection, we can die with confidence. Look to Jesus and trust in His grace.
Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Good Friday - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis