Why It Is Called Good Friday
WHY IS IT CALLED “GOOD FRIDAY”?
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Crowds of people gathered in the streets. Jesus, bloodied and bruised from the lashes He received from the Roman soldiers, stumbled up the road to the place called The Skull. Many screamed at Jesus and mocked Him as He attempted to carry His cross up the hill. The soldiers drove nails through Jesus’ wrists and feet and hoisted Him up on the cross. Blood trickled down His face from the crown of thorns that was thrust on His head. Each breath was more excruciating as Jesus gasped for air while pushing up on His nail pierced feet, only to be met with even more agony as the nails shred the nerves in His feet. As He painfully inhaled, His lungs filled with more and more carbon dioxide due to His inability to exhale properly.
Then the clouds blackened. The sun grew dim. Darkness covered the face of earth.
The worst part of the crucifixion wasn’t the physical pain Jesus experienced, but the fullness of God’s wrath toward sin that Jesus would endure.
“…knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (Jn.19:28, NIV)
This thirst wasn’t for water. This wine Jesus thirst for wasn’t made from vinegar that was offered to Him. This wine was the wrath of God. And Jesus was the only one who could drink it up.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (Jn.19:30, NIV)
IT. IS. FINISHED.
Jesus Christ breathed His last. The Son of God hung lifeless in the air. The only hope of the world was then place in a rich man’s tomb. The door was shut. “Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost…”
How could this be called “Good” Friday?
What makes Good Friday so good, was that the story didn’t end there. Death couldn’t win. Satan couldn’t win.
Sunday morning came. The sun had yet to make itself known, but the stone was already rolled away. The women entered an empty tomb.
“ He is not here, for he has risen” (Matt.28:6, ESV)
The testimony of the angel was confirmed by Jesus’ appearance to over 500 people. Jesus walked with His disciples, ate meals with them, and commissioned them to baptize, teach, and make disciples. He then ascended to heaven and is now at the right hand of God, the Father.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith. If Jesus never rose, there would be no hope for mankind. Paul said,
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
(I Corin.15:14-19, ESV)
Paul argued that Adam’s disobedience to God brought death to all mankind, but Jesus’ death and resurrection makes it possible for people to be made alive.
Our sin, our disobedience to God’s commands, destroyed the intimate relationship with God that man experienced in the Garden of Eden. That disobedience infected all of mankind with a predisposition to sin and the punishment for that disobedience is not only a physical death, but eternal, never-ending punishment in hell. That punishment is the wrath of God.
But what makes Good Friday so good is that not only did Jesus die in the place of all who would believe, not only did He satisfy the fullness of God’s wrath in the place of sinners, but Jesus showed His power over sin and death by rising that first Easter morning. And He says to us the same words He told John in Revelation 1:17-18:
“…Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
So remember today that the goodness of Good Friday is seen in the resurrection. The hope of salvation rests on the resurrection. Our hope for eternity in God’s presence is centered on the resurrection.
Why is it called Good Friday? Because Sunday came. The tomb is still empty. Jesus reigns forever.
“But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand // and death was arrested and my life began.”
Be sure and check out our other blogs in this Easter series: