Today my calendar is stamped with the words “Good Friday.” What a strange way to commemorate this date. At least that’s how it seems at first.
If we could travel through time to the first “good Friday,” today would not feel like a good day at all. There aren’t words in the English language graphic enough to describe it. These feel like the tiniest tip of the iceberg:
Hopeless . . .
This is the day Jesus died. Our hearts want to stop there. We don’t want to think about what Jesus endured for our sakes, but we must avoid the temptation to look away. For a moment, let’s peel our eyes away from all that is going on in our world and superglue them to what happened in His world that day.
They kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”. . . But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. (Luke 23:21, 23–24)
Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. (John 19:1–3)
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. (Luke 23:32–33)
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44–46)
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb. (Matt. 27:57–60)
Hopeless . . .
If that was how this story ended, there would be nothing good about today. Take every sad movie ending and multiply it times infinity. Take every “happily ever after” and turn it inside out. It’s impossible to fathom the sorrow that our world would be wrapped in if that tomb had stayed sealed.
But today is Good Friday. What happened on the day Jesus died was very good indeed. We want to skip the suffering and the gore and get right to Easter morning, but there could be no Easter morning without Christ’s sacrifice.
Without His death, we could never know new life.
Without His suffering, we could never be freed from ours.
Without His time in a dark tomb, we could never spend a millisecond in the light.
His death cracked history in two so that we could be made whole, making Good Friday the best/worst day in history.
Don’t rush past the hard to get to the good of Easter morning. Linger here awhile . . .
You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 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—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:1–7)
Jesus was indeed placed in a borrowed tomb on Good Friday, our tomb. We were dead in our sins with no way out. The beatings, the crown of thorns, the nail-pierced hands, the cross . . . all of it. It’s the punishment we deserve for chronically disobeying the God who made us. But Jesus took our place. He hung on our cross. He was buried in our tomb so that we would not have to be.
That is the best news ever!
Take some time to park in the details of Good Friday today. You can:
- Go for a walk and consider all that Jesus did for you.
- Write a poem or song expressing your gratitude for His sacrifice.
- Read through the crucifixion story in the Gospels. Here are the verses for easy access:
I’d love to hear how you focus on the good work Christ accomplished for you on the cross. Tell me about it in a comment below.