What is So Good about Good Friday?

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With Good Friday being such a bleak event in our history commemorating a day of suffering and the untimely death of Jesus, why on Earth do we refer to this day as being anything but “good”?

John 19:1-16  (NIV)

Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to youis guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaicis Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

For Christian’s, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because we view it as one of the most momentous weekends in the history of the world. Jesus’ death and resurrection was a turning point for creation, because as Christians we know that Jesus died for our sins, he was buried and raised from the dead after three days. This is something that God promised in 1 Corinthians 15:4.

1 Corinthians 15:4 (NIV)
“that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”

Jesus loved us so much that he willingly suffered and was crucified which caused his death as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Easter commemorates Jesus rising from the dead which in turn proves victorious over sin and death. For all those who united with him by faith, he pointed to a glorious future full of promise, love, prayer, salvation and so much more.

John 19:16-36 (NIV)

16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”[a]

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his motherthere, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her,“Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Most people, some Christians included, may wonder why we don’t refer ‘Good Friday’ as ‘Bad Friday’, but if we look at how others refer to this day, some, in fact, refer to it in a more sorrowful way. For instance, German’s refer to it as Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday”. Some argue that “good” comes from the older name, “God’s Friday”, but regardless of its origin, ‘Good Friday’ is more than appropriate because it shows a dramatic shift and culmination of God’s plan to save Christians from their sins.

Our deliverance is good news from the gospel as it shows us how hopeless we once were before we were saved bu Him. It also shows us how Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.

In order for us to experience forgiveness and salvation to be poured down upon, that awful day known as “Black Friday” and of immense suffering, sorrow and blood shed had to occur for us to receive the many joys of Easter. Also, this day is displaying the greatest triumph of evil but it also showed God’s plan to redeem the world from bondage. Without this selfish act, without Jesus choosing to give His life for Ours, we wouldn’t be living by grace but by sin and law.

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”

“Good Friday is the mirror held up by Jesus so that we can see ourselves in all our stark reality, and then it turns us to that cross and to his eyes and we hear these words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That’s us! And so we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. We see in that cross a love so amazing so divine that it loves us even when we turn away from it, or spurn it, or crucify it. There is no faith in Jesus without understanding that on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for the sinner whoever he or she may be” -Robert G. Trache

As I sat in church this evening and the story of Jesus’ untimely death was spoken of, it was hard to not have an overwhelming sense of grief sweep upon me. He sacrificed His life for me–someone, who wasn’t even thought of. He sacrificed his life for my family, my friends and people I might never know. His decision to stand strong on His belief, His word, when he could have been saved by calling upon the Angels to help save him or even retracted his statement of Himself being “the King of the Jews” just to live, and he didn’t budge. Not once did he flinch despite all of the pain, the torture, the condemnation, the ridicule, the beatings, the endless suffering that he went through.

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (NIV) Matthew 26:53

He died so that I might live. He died so that WE might live.

His selfless act was the ultimate act of love, and I will forever be grateful for his unhindered faith and love for God and his people.

So tonight, I leave you with this prayer…

Prince of Peace, redeemer of us all, crucified God, we have gathered at the foot of the cross, and at the entrance to the tomb, and we have rolled the stone across it.

The world sometimes does its worst, even to those who don’t deserve it. You know that, because you once lived as one of us, loved as one of us, and died as one of us.

Tonight we leave, as your disciples did centuries ago, knowing our friend is gone, and that a good man has died.

The ones who knew you and loved you could find no consolation that night. They mourned. Just as there have been nights when we have mourned. Just as there have been nights we have looked for mercy that didn’t seem to come.

And yet, some would dare to look for hope…

God, as you send us out into the world, stay close to us. As we wrestle with the big questions; as we ask why there is pain, why there is suffering, why there is loss, do not leave us alone. Help us to find you in our hours of greatest doubt.

And at the right hour, draw us back together. To gather at the tomb. To look for the light. To look for you. For hope, for you, we will be waiting. Amen.

Rev. Emily C. Heath

And always always remember, that LOVE is Sacrifice. Love wins.

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Photos: Indulgy, Pinterest

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