You’ve read why “Holy Thursday” is holy, but why is “Good Friday” good? After all, it is the day we mark Jesus’s death on a cruel Roman cross.
He was arrested (Luke 22:47-53). He was beaten and mocked (Luke 22:63-65). He was falsely accused (Luke 22:66-71). He was given the death sentence. Nails were driven through his hands and his feet, he was strung up on a coarse, wooden cross to languish until he could no longer inhale and exhale the very breath he created (Luke 23:26-43). He was forsaken by God (Mark 15:34).
Why celebrate? Where’s the goodness in that?
Those are very good questions. Before answering, I do think it is important for us to grasp the weight of the crucifixion. Don’t breeze over the cross. Meditate on Scripture. Pray. Read devotionals. Don’t move on from the cross of Jesus too quickly. After you’ve done that, then you’ll begin to see why the cross is good.
The cross is good for us, and so we call “Good Friday” good, because we deserved the crushing wrath of God that Jesus absorbed in our place.
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,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
As another writer has phrased it, “Even his Father forsook him [Jesus] to fulfill the requirement of the covenant. God placed all the wrath that we deserved on Jesus. No one has ever been so utterly alone. This is ugly. Bad Friday. Ugly Friday. And ultimately for our fate and for the glory of God, Good Friday. Our Savior suffered like no other, for a joy like no other.”
Yes and Amen.