Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel



It Is Finished

Lent 2018

Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?... Why do you call me good?

Luke 18:18–19

Jesus asked the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good?” The Lord was not denying his true goodness as Son of God, but knew the rich young ruler’s question came from wrong assumptions. What the ruler considered good was judged only by the world’s perspective: trying to keep the Law that damns and accuses. But that is futile. Only Jesus alone can, and did, keep it perfectly. For everyone else, that approach leads only to despair (when we know we can’t keep it) or delusion (when we are arrogant enough to think we can).

Jesus, however, showed true goodness on Good Friday. He had already kept the Law for us through his perfect life. Now he would make payment for our breaking the Law. On the cross, the only one who had kept the Law paid the penalty for those who had broken it. He died for you and me.

Remarkably, many still approach Good Friday the way the rich young ruler approached Jesus: the day must be good because of our observance and sacrifice. No! It is good only because of what Jesus did on the cross. The Law reveals that we are cursed sinners, but Jesus took our penalty upon his sinless self. On that Good Friday cross Jesus took our curse (Galatians 3:13) and became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). On that Good Friday cross Jesus cried out when he felt his Father turn away from him (Matthew 27:46). The Father turned away from Jesus because Jesus was bearing our detestable sin. Thank God for that, because his turning away meant that he was accepting his Son’s sacrifice for all sinners. God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for you! Your condemnation is gone. It is finished (John 19:30)! Now God sees you as good. Jesus’ good has covered you. We live and walk in it. Good Friday is good, because Jesus’ good is yours!

The Rev. Dr. Al Espinosa '87
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Irvine, CA
Adjunct Professor of Theology

Walk With Us

Sign up to receive daily devotions from Ash Wednesday through Easter directly to your email.
Your email address will be used for no other purposes than these Lenten devotions.

Back to top