What’s so Good about Good Friday?
(Suggested Reading for the rest of Holy Week)
Wednesday: Matthew 26, 27, and 28
Thursday: Mark 14, 15, and 16
Friday: Luke 22, 23, and 24
Saturday: John 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21
Sunday: Go find you an Easter service.
A couple thousand years ago really early on the inaugural Good Friday morning, we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. He’s praying intensely for His “cup” to be taken from Him. He’s so stressed He is literally sweating blood. He realizes that there is no other way to be reunited with mankind. He fully submits His will to His Father’s will. The matter is settled, and it’s time. For years and years, I thought He was stressed about the beating He was about to take and the six hours He was about to spend on that cross…I was wrong!
He is taken to “court” and “tried.” I put those in quotations because it was not a legal court session and the trial was far from fair. He is being accused of blasphemy because He has claimed to be God. Despite all of the evidence that He is who He says He is, He is “convicted.” He is sent to Pilate, the Roman Governor. The Jewish priests cannot legally carry out an execution so they must appeal to the Roman government. Pilate quickly realizes they are just jealous and Jesus hasn’t done a thing wrong. Upon telling the crowd this, they begin to yell “crucify Him!” Afraid of losing His position (the higher -ups didn’t like dissention among the people), Pilate gets a bright idea that could keep his political position secure AND save the life of Jesus. He decides to have Jesus flogged.
In that day and age, a prisoner got flogged OR crucified…never both. Pilate thought he could make the crowd feel sorry for Jesus by having Him beaten to near death. There was no pity. The crowd still wanted Him crucified. Pilate washes his hands in front of the people and says “I am free from His blood, let His blood be on you.” They actually say “let His blood be on US and OUR CHILDREN.”
Around 8:00 A.M, He is made to carry His cross to Golgotha. He can’t make it. None of the other prisoners took a Roman scourging that morning…Jesus did. The cross was too much to bear so they allowed a man named Simon to do it. What a special privilege that man had to help save the soul of you and me!
At exactly 9:00, He was nailed to the cross and was lifted up. Three hours pass by.
At exactly 12:00 it got really dark. For the first time EVER we hear our Lord and Savior question His Father. He says “Why have you forsaken me?” For the first time EVER Jesus did not feel the presence of His Father. The Father had ALWAYS been with Him, but at this moment He was no longer present. THIS was the moment that Jesus had dreaded back in the garden. NOT the beating, NOT the cross, but THIS moment. His “cup” that had always been filled with the Holy Spirit was now emptied, and being filled with YOUR SIN and MY SIN! For three solid hours all He did was have sin poured out on Him. For three solid hours blood dripped off His hands and feet and covered every single one of those sins. No wonder the Father couldn’t look upon Him, He was full of Sin…Not His own, yours and mine! We can never know just how bad our sin hurt Him. But in comparison, He didn‘t complain about the cat o nine tails ripping his flesh off. He didn’t complain about the crown of thorns being thrust into his skull. He didn‘t complain about being spit upon and mocked. He didn’t even complain about the nails that held him to the cross. But the sin hurt. It hurt Him so bad that he let us know…“now THIS…hurts!!!” Even now when we choose to sin, that single act of disobedience transcends time and hurts him even more. He took it all. Everything you have done…everything you will do! He paid it all. For YOU, and for ME!
At 3:00 He said the three words that every single one of us better be so thankful for…“It is finished!” The only perfect man that ever lived died. Therefore, the perfect sacrifice was made. Sin was conquered. Anyone who asked from that day forward could now receive forgiveness and be reconciled to God our Father!
What’s so good about Good Friday? He gave His life that I might live. He gave His life just to give each and every one of us the CHANCE at abundant life. What have you done with that chance?
Today is the day of salvation! If you have never asked for your sins to be placed on Jesus during those three hours that Good Friday afternoon…do it today! You have a choice. You can pay for your own sin which will result in eternal separation from God, or you can place your sin on Him and have it already paid!
If you never have, give your heart and life to Him today. Put your trust in Him by doing these three things:
1. Admit to Him that you are a sinner
2. Ask Him to forgive you for your sins and come into your life.
3. Grow in Him by spending time with Him every day. Start your relationship with Him today!