A very long time ago, when I was little, a classmate asked me – “If Jesus died on Good Friday, why do we call it good. Shouldn’t it be called a Bad Friday?”
Little as I was, I knew the answer to that question and somehow I managed to explain it to her. I don’t know whether she understood it though.
And I assume that might be the case even today. People wonder, “Why is this Friday, called Good?, When Jesus died, that too nailed on a cross.” I bet you have never dared to ask that question to your Christian friend.
Well, while we are on the subject of Good Friday, Let’s talk about Jesus. Not many people might know or believe this but Jesus was a historical person. The historicity and authenticity of Jesus is a claim backed with scores of Historical evidence. Find some here: https://www.history.com/news/was-jesus-real-historical-evidence
If you have ever read about him or seen a movie or two, you may know that he was called – The Son of God. Jesus was Jewish, He was a teacher who spoke with authority none of the religious leaders at the time seemed to have. Crowds followed him everywhere he went. He was also a healer, out of compassion for the people he healed all their diseases, freed those who were possessed by evil spirits, and even raised the dead. He was the Son of God and these miraculous works confirmed who he was! What person can give life to a dead man? , rather the one who gave him life in the first place. His works were never heard of before, anywhere in the world. Many religions and religious elites testify to Jesus as a “ good teacher” , “a miracle worker”. However, his 12 disciples knew him as The Lord and Messiah (saviour) who was promised long ago. To them, He was the Holy One of Israel.
He was not the kind of teacher the religious people wanted him to be. He did not deal in the religious duties, ritual and customs, he dealt with the matters of the heart. He pointed out sin in ‘religious men’ and sort of “showed them the mirror” and that enraged their envy. They plotted to falsely accuse Him and have Him sentenced to death under the Roman authority. Their plans succeeded. You may scoff and say that Why didn’t the Healer and Messiah save himself, Where was His ‘Father’?
Well, it was in the Father’s plan to let his Son go through agony. No one recognized this plan, including the religious leaders who claimed full knowledge of the Law of God. Meanwhile, the accusers lashed out accusations, as the Son of God stood still, laying all his authority aside. He did not try to save himself by offering an explanation. He was aware of His Father’s plan. After all, this was the moment for which he was born into the world. This was the moment which held purposes of the Birth of Jesus in its entirety, which we so joyfully celebrate each year.
But His life was not one of Joys, merry-making and revelry. That is ours. His life was the one of sorrows, He was familiar with suffering. And here in the Pilate’s palace the purpose of his Birth and Life on Earth was reaching its culmination. Pilate, the Governor of Judea at the time did not himself find any wrong in Him, and even tried to save Him, at last, gave Him over to the will of the people. He had Him flogged with 36 lashes and brought him out wounded and bleeding, clothed in a purple robe that was put on him by the soldiers who mocked him. They made a crown of thorns and forced it into his scalp, blood ran down and marred his face until he couldn’t be recognised. Pilate presented him to the crowd saying – “Behold the Man.” His words met the raging response of the crowd which was stirred up by the religious leaders – Endless chants of “ Crucify Him!”
The Son of God, stood silent. He did not speak a word or made no sound, just like a sheep going to the slaughter. They took him away, forcing him to carry his own cross.
This is the moment where I often come and stop. What must It have felt like for Jesus to walk the road, he knew was leading to this excruciating death? What words could describe the sorrow. What words could mark his agony. But He took the road. Carrying the cross. Already feeble as much blood had already been lost. He walked. There came a point on the road, where he could carry it no more. Simon, of Cyrene was forced to carry it.
One may wonder, What could have been the reason God, the Father chose this kind of death for his Precious Son? What was the need? Why did he allow it? Why was this done? Was it necessary? What made him to do this?
Well, it was my sin and yours. Jesus was sent into the world, to die as a ransom for the sins for all mankind. He paid the price for all the sins that were ever done and would be ever done on planet Earth. God, The Father, laid on His blemish free Son – every sin in the world. He was made to bear our guilt. You see, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” And He was the sacrifice. His blood bought our pardon.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever may believe in Him, may not perish but may have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Jesus reached Golgatha- the place of crucifixion, and the soldiers nailed him to the cross he carried. “It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.” For the Son was fighting the forces of darkness that intend to snatch is away from God, and He was enduring God’s judgement for our sin. As the Son hung on the cross, darkness covered the land, As He gave up His Spirit to God and died, there were earthquakes and the graves of many God’s people were opened and they came back to life.
The Son endured the cross. He took the punishment that should’ve been ours. He died in our place. You may very well say, “ Hey! But I’m not a sinner.” Well, sin is not only the big stuff like murderer or adultery, but it is also the little things like – telling a lie, stealing and unwholesome talk. Sin is sin, and It has a price. And, here comes the ‘Good’ part. Jesus paid the price. Mine and yours. He surrendered to the Father’s will and plan. God loved us all enough to give for us – His only begotten Son and not just that, He raised Jesus from the dead! So that in him, we may have eternal life. But needs one to put their faith in Jesus and accept his sacrifice to be saved. Jesus has finished the work of our salvation, its for us to receive and accept it.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus paid it all. He bled and died to save me from my sins. And that’s why, it was a Good Friday.
Had it not been so, the sin’s debt would have been mine and God’s righteous judgement would be upon me. But because..” Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
You know what’s even better. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after His Death! He is Risen! Jesus’ tomb is empty. Let’s talk more about this, this Sunday!