Today is Good Friday. Often, people wonder why we call Good Friday, good. It’s hard to believe anything about the events of that day could be considered good. It was a gruesome day. No matter who was watching of those who cared about Jesus in any way, it was devastating.
For the followers of Jesus, their world turned upside down!
His disciples couldn’t believe what was happening right in front of them. Less than a week before, the crowds were praising Jesus as King. By Friday, they all wanted to kill Him. How had everything turned upside down so fast? I’m sure Jesus’ disciples had to have been disappointed in themselves. Most ran away when Jesus was taken in the Garden. Only a couple followed from a distance. One was Peter, who later denied he ever knew Jesus…three times!
Why was Good Friday good? It was the ultimate reason for His coming to earth!
But why was Friday good? It was the culmination of Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth! He came to make it possible for people to know Him, to communicate and fellowship with HIm. But as long as mankind was sinful, we could not fellowship with a holy GOD. We would be destroyed. It was worse than mixing oil and water. It was like putting 2 chemicals together that are combustible. Only He would not be destroyed, we would. He is so much bigger and holier than we are. We are so much messier and dirtier, even in our goodness, than He is. We are totally incompatible.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep,
sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. …
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from my Father.”
John 10: 10-12, 17-18 ESV
The only way we could ever get together is if GOD took the initiative to bridge the huge gap in the relationship. There was no way we could begin to do it. In order to do it, He had to come to earth in human form and live a perfect life. He wouldn’t be able to do that if He was only a human being. He was a GOD-man. Fully GOD. Fully man. As a man, he lived a perfect life on earth for 33 years. He never sinned once in thought, word or deed. As a man, he would have been able to die to pay for the sin of one person. As GOD, He was able to pay for the sin of an infinite number of people.
And that is what He did. When He died on the cross, shedding His blood that day for the sin of the world, past, present and future, He took on Himself all the sin of the world. For the first time ever, He was separated from His Father when this sin was put on Him. It may have been more excruciating than the physical pain…which was awful!
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood,
and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:22 ESV
Then, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” When He gave up His spirit, the curtain in the temple between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies tore from the top down. There was now no need to have the sacrifices anymore. Jesus had made the ONE sacrifice for sin that was needed. No more sacrifices were needed anymore. Sin had been paid for. We no longer had to live under a cloud of guilt.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure
in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings”
(these are offered according to the law), then he added,
“Behold, I have come to do your will.”
He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all.
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God,
waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Hebrews 10:5-17 ESV
For the first time, we can have true hope in the face of death. We no longer have to live under guilt during our lives either! Christ paid for our sin in full. That is what is good about Good Friday!
This is why we have hope. This is the good news of Good Friday! Jesus blood was shed to pay for our sin. He took all our sin on Himself and gave us His sinless record. Now we can stand before Him and be righteous. It is not because of our good deeds. It is because the goodness we now have is the goodness and righteousness of Jesus!! That is fantastically good news!
We who are Christians have been forgiven freely. It is a free gift offered to everyone. In order to receive this gift, we only need to recognize how much we need it. We need to recognize that we are sinners in need of this Savior. We need to be sorry for our sin and want to change the direction of our lives. He will do the rest. Thanks be to GOD!
Understand that the disciples and followers of Jesus didn’t fully understand what was happening until after Jesus rose from the dead. It was after the Resurrection as He appeared to them in large and small groups, that they began to understand the meaning of what happened on Good Friday. The Resurrection was what helped them truly understand that He won the victory over sin and death. But that is a story for another day.