Some people struggle with how Christians can call today Good Friday. After all, today is the day Jesus died a horrible death on the cross. Why describe such an event as good? Why commemorate it by adorning our homes and bodies with crosses? Isn’t that morbid?
I can see where people are coming from with those questions. Normally I would totally agree. Crucifixions were terrible. They were so bad that I wonder how anybody could even witness them.
But it’s the very horror of Jesus’ crucifixion that emphasizes why today is Good Friday. Today is a good day because here we are observing the ultimate expression of God’s love for us. God the Father willingly sacrificed his Son for us. Jesus willingly suffered all this for us! They did this because they knew that this is the only way that we could live with them forever in heaven. It was crystal clear to them that there was no way anybody could save themselves. Sin had spiritually killed us all. We were dead in sin. And dead people can’t do anything.
Therefore they did it all for us. That means that Jesus didn’t just have to suffer physically on the cross. No, he had to experience the abandonment of his Father – because that was the true price for sin. It wasn’t the nails driven into his hands that caused him the greatest pain – it was when he cried, out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” There Jesus was drinking to the full the cup – the thought of which had so terrified him in the garden.
But Jesus drank that cup down to the dregs – all for us. We know that because he told us so. That is the significance of those simple words, “it is finished”. In the original Greek, that phrase consists of only one word. It was a word that was used to mark bills paid in full. In this striking way, Jesus declared that he had fully paid our debt of sin.
By raising Jesus gloriously from the dead on Easter, the Father dramatically showed that he accepted that payment. If Jesus had not paid for our sins, after repeatedly saying that is what he was going to do, there would be no way that the Father would have exalted him by raising him so gloriously. Jesus’ resurrection is our receipt proving that he truly did pay our debt.
Down through the centuries, Christians have clung tenaciously to these facts. When voices from within or without call into question the completeness of that payment, they stand firm on the fact that, because of Jesus, they can view their debt of sin as paid in full. There is no greater joy or relief than that. On the cross Jesus drowned our sins in the depths of the sea. He separated them from us as far as the east is from the west.
It is my prayer that today many people experience the great joy and relief of having a Savior who had done it all. A Savior who gives them, as his gift, free and full salvation. May today truly be good for you. To Jesus be all praise and glory.