The Friday before Easter is traditionally called Good Friday. It’s the day when Christians intentionally remember and reflect on Christ Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
“But why is it called Good Friday?” not a few have asked through the years. “Wasn’t that a truly awful day when God the Son was put to death?”
Indeed, for our precious Savior it was the most horrific day of His earthly ministry and, presumably, of His entire eternal existence. But what made that day good was the immeasurable benefit it brought about for the innumerable people who would believe and receive Christ as their Savior.
I’d invite you to read reflectively (rather than quickly) these representative Bible passages that describe the terrible Friday that Messiah Jesus willingly endured, followed by other representative Scriptures that state a number of the tremendous blessings which resulted for all who would trust in Him.
Jesus Christ’s unspeakably bad Friday (involving incalculable physical, psychological and spiritual suffering):
Matthew 26:57-68 (select verses) – Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. The high priest said to Him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. Others slapped Him and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”
Matthew 27:1-2, 15-26 (select verses) – Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound Him, led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed Him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:27-31 – Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.
Matthew 27:33-44 (select verses) – They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall. But after tasting it, He refused to drink it. When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. Above His head they placed the written charge against Him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Two robbers were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left. Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God’.” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.”
Isaiah 53:4-12 (select verses from an Old Testament prophecy of Christ as the Lord’s suffering Servant) – Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Matthew 27:45-46 – From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
John 19:28-30 and Luke 23:46 – Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.’ 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. When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” With that, he bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
The measureless good that resulted for Christ’s followers:
Matthew 26:27-28 (when Jesus instituted communion with the cup representing His blood shed on the cross) – Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
John 3:14-18 – Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up [on the cross], that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Romans 3:21-25 – But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified [declared righteous] freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.
Romans 5:1-10 (select verses) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 – We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Ephesians 1:7 – In Him [Christ Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Colossians 1:21-22 – Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
Titus 2:13-14 – Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ … gave himself for us [on the cross] to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.
Hebrews 9:15, 26-28 – For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. But now Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
Those of us who know Christ as our Savior have an infinite amount for which to humbly thank and highly praise Him this Good Friday, both in terms of all that He was willing to suffer for us, and for the untold spiritual and eternal blessings He has brought to us as a result. If you have not yet believed and received Jesus as your personal Savior, may God graciously draw you to saving faith in Christ, thus enabling you to share in the limitless blessings that flow from His self-sacrificial, substitutionary death.
Copyright 2020 by Vance E. Christie