For some reason, we call it Good Friday. Before continuing on, take a moment and reverentially mediate on what Jesus endured on that horrific but glorious day:
Matthew 27:30-44 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
Mark 15:20-32 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
Luke 23:32–43 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
John 19:16-24 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things.
In the vicinity of Jesus, corrupt governmental leaders abound. Twice, Pontus Pilate declares Jesus innocent and refuses to release him. Then there is Herod who desires to be entertained by the miracle-working Messiah. He too pronounces Jesus “not guilty” but does not set him free. Both men are responsible for turning a blind-eye to justice and making sure Jesus is further abused.
In the same city, devilish clergymen are present. Successfully, they plot against Jesus, secure a betrayer, pay for false witnesses, and see a good man illegally arrested and tried. These holy men are determined to see the Holy Son brutally terminated.
There is a whole multitude of superficial worshipers in the presence of Jesus. Thousands have come into the Jerusalem to worship the Father, and these are the ones shouting “Give us Barabbas … Crucify him, crucify him … May his blood be on us and on our children.” These worshipers see their Creator, shake their heads, and wag their tongues. They have no interest in the Lamb of God who is being led to the place of slaughter.
Below Jesus are pagan soldiers. They are the hardened men responsible for dressing him in a purple robe and providing him a scepter that they might all play “The King and I.” They are those who have implanted a crown of thorns in his skull, blindfolded, taunted, and struck him. His beard was ripped out by them. They also covered his face with their spit. Then, these soldiers loaded him like a beast of burden with his cross and led him in a royal parade down the Via Della Rosa. Upon arriving at Golgatha, they stripped him naked, affixed him to a cross by nails through his hands and feet, and then erected and dropped him into a pre-dug hole. And while he suffered, they continued their blasphemous mockery.
Surrounding Jesus, on his right and left, are convicted felons. They are immoral thieves, and even they join in and add their voices of disbelief, slander, and mockery.
Somewhere around Jesus are faithless disciples. The shepherd has been struck, and they have all fled. All have sworn allegiance, eaten his bread, and abandoned him. One has committed suicide. Another – John – has made his way back to the cross, but the other ten remaining cowering in faithless fear.
And above Jesus is a watching Heavenly Father. He is witnessing all that transpires. He can stop it at any time, but it is his will that his Son perish. The earth shakes and the sky becomes dark as the Father turns his face away. The perfectly righteous Son screams, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And in the end, the devilish murderers and onlookers get what they desire. Jesus dies a cursed death on a tree.
And people call this Good Friday? What’s the deal? How can this be?
Well my friends, the disbelief, apathy, slander, betrayal, abandonment, injustice, mockery, abuse, torture, and murder of Jesus is not good. All this is demonic and depraved. Evil is never good.
However, it is good that the things covenanted and predetermined by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit came to pass. This means they never lie or change their mind.
It is good that the things prophesied and declared in Holy Scripture came to pass. This means the Bible is true in all that it teaches and promises.
It is good that the powers of hell accomplished the plan of heaven. God really does sovereignly control all things and work them out for his good, his kingdom, and his children.
It is good that Jesus Christ loved his own to the end and suffered the cursed death deserved by horrid sinners. Because he stayed on the cross when he could have “Called Ten Thousand Angels,” means corrupt governmental officials, devilish clergymen, superficial worshipers, pagan soldiers, immoral thieves, and faithless disciples can all be instantaneously justified, intimately reconciled, perfectly sanctified, and eternally housed with Jesus in paradise.
And believe it or not, he can even save you and me!
Oh friends, it is good that evil accomplished its desire on Friday. It is good that God allowed injustice and abuse. It really is good that Good Friday happened.
Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.