“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.”Isaiah 53:5
I’m not sure when the Friday before Resurrection Sunday became known as “Good Friday.” At first glance, there seems to be nothing good about it.
Good Friday is the day the Son of Man was beaten beyond recognition and tortured to within an inch of His life.
Good Friday is the day that the Righteous Son of God was punished for crimes He did not commit and for sins He never knew.
Good Friday is the day that the Lord of Glory — the Creator of the Universe — was rejected and murdered by His own people.
Good Friday is the day that Jesus Christ was nailed to a Roman cross, only to bear the full weight of the world’s wickedness and become the sole object of God’s unbridled wrath for the sins of mankind.
Good Friday doesn’t sound very good.
So why is it called “Good” Friday?
The Cross Was the Eternal Plan of God
The Scriptures remind us that the cross of Jesus Christ is the focal point and apex of God’s eternal plan of redemption. God would defeat death through death and destroy the works of the devil through the humble sacrifice of the Son.
The Scriptures also reveal that this plan of redemption was conceived in the heart of God before the very foundation of the world.
“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”1 Peter 1:18-21
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”John 17:3-5
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the Beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”Revelation 13:8
Good Friday is good because it was the plan of God, accomplished by God, and for the glory of God.
The Cross was the Father’s Will
As Jesus agonized with blood and tears in the Garden of Gethsemane, He had to remind Himself of the very purpose for which He was born. All that Jesus came to do on earth was in perfect obedience to the Father’s will.
And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”Luke 22:42-43
The prophet Isaiah also reminds us of the Father’s will.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;Isaiah 53:10
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.”
Good Friday was Jesus’ final step in obedience to the Father’s will, fulfilling all righteousness!
The Cross is Our Only Hope
More than anything, Good Friday is good news for all mankind because the cross of Jesus Christ is our only means of forgiveness and our only hope to be saved and restored to a Holy God.
When the Son of God was nailed to the cross, the greatest exchange in human history took place that day. All the universal guilt and shame and sin of mankind was placed on Jesus, as He suffered the punishment and took our place on the cross. At the same time, all the righteousness and perfection and purity of Jesus Christ was made available to everyone who would believe in Him by faith.
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”Romans 5:18-19
Jesus is our substitute for sin. He was punished in our place. He suffered and died the death we deserve so that we could be forgiven and set free and live forever! The punishment that brought us peace was placed upon Him.
Jesus paid the price for our sin — a debt that we could never repay.
Jesus suffered the penalty for our sin — which was more than just the excruciating death on the cross. Jesus suffered the unbearable wrath of God. The Father crushed Him under the weight of His indignation. The Father exhausted the full measure of His wrath on Jesus that day.
That is why for those of us who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation, we are not destined for the wrath of God [1 Thessalonians 5:9]. Only those who reject the Lord Jesus remain in the imminent shadow of God’s righteous wrath.
Good Friday is good because it is the day that God made a way for sinners to saved and transgressors to be forgiven. Only by His wounds, are we healed.
As we remember the cross today … may we be overwhelmed by the grace of God and bow before our Holy God, who turned the worst day into the best day in human history!
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21