It is the day of contradiction. Everything is the opposite of what it should be. Man lives. God dies. Only John and some women stand nearby, and they are of no help at all. Instead the Sufferer takes care of his friend and his mother. Soldiers, the crowd, and officials of church and state care nothing for the Sufferer. The Sufferer dies for these who caused every bit of his suffering and who on this day made it as shameful and as painful for him as they could. We dare not look. But still, we cannot look away. We are devastated and desolate at the sight of what we have done by our sins. And a wave of relief sweeps over us. Yes, a day of contradiction: we heave a sigh of relief that he whom we love suffers thus, nor would we help him, even if we could! For he suffers instead of us! He suffers for us! He brings it all to a close, our whole salvation, the redemption of sinners, when he declares in agony and in triumph: It is finished!