“‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.’” (Zechariah 3:8-9)
A Jewish writer named Rashi confessed, “One day; I know not what that day is.” Any Christian knows what that “single day” is. Zechariah is giving a description of the future Messiah and His saving work. The Branch would come – shoot from Jesse, born of a virgin, Mary. He would save the world from sin. The Jewish festival of the Day of Atonement would pass into history as the Savior of the world would act once and for all to cleanse humankind of its sin. That “single day” was the day Jesus was crucified. That “single day” was when He declared for all to know “It is Finished!”
Holy Week is the week that never was for many people. Palm Sunday is exciting with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and Easter is exciting with the celebration of Jesus resurrection. But what is in between gets lost. It gets lost on purpose for many because they don’t like to dwell on the sad news, the news of Jesus’ suffering and death. We may even be uncomfortable with the Last Supper because it leads to Gethsemane and then to the Cross. Holy Week for many, even many Christians is a reality they do not want to face.
Sadly, without facing the sadness of Holy Week the Truth of Jesus’ Resurrection can never be understood. Good Friday, that “single day,” is the most important day in the history of humankind. The world changed on that day. We were changed by that day. We were brought into eternal fellowship with our God because of that day – Jesus’ death on a Cross. Our world has been changed forever. Our eternity is sealed by that Holy Week and confirmed on Easter Sunday.
Heavenly Father, You accomplished for us on that “single day” more than we could have ever imagined. You put our sin upon Jesus and placed His righteousness upon us. On that day the world changed forever. We were changed forever. We remember all of Your love for us, yes, even the events of Holy Week, and especially those at the Cross. “It is Finished!” is what You have done for us through Your Son, Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Alleluia! In His name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn and a guest columnist.