After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. — John 19:28-30
Good Friday. It’s a strange name for a day when an innocent man was condemned and crucified. But the “good” in Good Friday actually comes from has a different origin. The word “good” used to have a sense of “pious” or “holy”. The day was called Good Friday in the sense of it being a holy day.
It’s important to remember that on that Holy Friday, it was not good. It was a day when evil rejoiced and those who opposed Jesus’ ministry thought they’d gotten rid of the Nazarene once and for all. They did not realize it was a day God had planned from time eternal, from before the foundation of the world when God would begin to undo what Satan had done in the Garden of Eden.
It was a day when the earth trembled. Darkness reigned. Hope was lost. A ransom was paid. Chains were broken. Death’s defeat begun. Judgment finished. A glimmer of hope found in the midst of a darkness.
What Jesus endured on our behalf is nothing short of incredible. Unlike you and me, Jesus did nothing wrong, but He paid the price of sin. His feet never went where they were not to go, His hands never did what they should not have done. He never spoke an inappropriate word and never entertained an inappropriate thought. Yet, from the foundation of the world, God the Father allowed His only begotten Son to be put on trial for you and me. He gave His only Son as a sacrifice, that you and I might have freedom. The wonderful, free gift of God’s grace!
Perhaps a better name for that Friday so long ago would be “Grace Friday” because on that day, God did for you and I what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus took upon himself the pain of our sins and the punishment we deserved.
“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt…by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities…he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” — Isaiah 53:10-12
When we were lost in sin and unable to save ourselves, Jesus died in our place by boldly placing our sin on his shoulders. Falsely accused, beaten, and mocked, they crucified the King of glory. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. —Ephesians 2:4-5
Good Friday is a time of somber reflection, but it is also a time of joyful anticipation. The struggle between good and evil is finished. The debt is paid. The disciples didn’t understand it. And perhaps you struggle with it too. Friday is indeed a dark day. But, my friend, Sunday is coming! A day will dawn when our tears will become joy; the tomb will stand empty; and hope will be restored!
If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you simply must not allow this glorious weekend to pass without confessing Him as Lord and allowing Him to come into your life. He carried your sin….and mine. He died for me…and He died for you. But glory of glory…the grave could not hold Him and He rose again, forever defeating death, so that we might have life. Eternal life. Forever with Him!
Isn’t it time to accept the beautiful gift Jesus is offering you? To invite Jesus to come into your life, sincerely pray this prayer (or something similar) with all your heart:
Heavenly Father, I have done wrong in my life. I have sinned against you and I am sorry. I want to turn from my sinful ways but cannot do it on my own. I acknowledge that I cannot save myself, but that You can save me. Please come to dwell within me and change me from the inside out. I confess that You are Lord and I want to follow You all the days of my life. Thank You for Your amazing grace that is saving me this very moment! Now send Your Holy Spirit to empower me to live the way I should. I give myself to You as best I know how. Amen