Have you ever imagined what is good about Good Friday– the day of the crucifixion of Jesus?
Let’s examine events leading up to this day and what eventually happened on that fateful day.
Judas, one of the disciples of Jesus, had connived with others and betrayed Jesus, selling Him for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus had been treated like a chattel, to be exchanged for money. Love of money was working, big time. The entire lessons Jesus taught had gone into one ear and out the other. Judas, who was the treasurer and accountant, was not content with helping himself from the treasury, he wanted more and Jesus was his ultimate scalp, spoil, loot, prize- His Master.( Matt26:14-16)
Could you believe it?
However Jesus had predicted that one of His disciples would betray Him and His word would not fall to the ground. He had also said a man’s enemies are members of his household and we can see this truth played out.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
And so after the money had changed hands, the hordes of hell, in the form of Roman soldiers were unleashed, with Judas at the helm of the pack, on their way to look for Jesus on concocted charges. Jesus had just finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and they came swooping down like hawks on their prey-Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss to identify the ‘prize’ or target.
Could you believe it? Mark 14:44, Matt 26:49
As they tried to arrest Jesus and Peter became bold and brash and unsheathe his dagger to defend Jesus, cutting off the ears of one of the soldiers.
53When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:48-53
Notice, Peter, instead of getting a commendation, got a rebuke from Jesus. ‘, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
Jesus then proceeded to heal the man whose ear was dangling in the floor, while he reeled in anguish. What goodness! How exemplary! Would you have done that if you were in the shoes of Jesus? What a lesson to us on Good Friday!
Jesus wanted the disciples not to be in harm’s way even in that dark hour.
8 Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,”
The miracle that Jesus did never softened the hearts of the soldiers. He was still maltreated and dragged away to be interrogated.
Next we see Jesus on trial, accused of heresy. The people clamoured, even clamoured for his blood, like hounds on their prey: Crucify Him! Crucify Him! they chanted. Pilate did not see any fault in Him, yet he was obliged to release someone on that occasion. The people wanted a criminal- Barabbas released instead of Jesus. (Luke 23:18-21)
6Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. John 19:16
Jesus Mocked and Beaten (Luke 22: 62-65)
Jesus Questioned by the High Priest ( John18:19-22)
Eventually, Jesus was condemned to die an ignominious death on the cross. He was scourged- beaten with rods and ropes that had spikes on them such that the spikes lodged themselves into his skin as they flogged Him. And as they pulled the ropes, flesh and blood was ripped out. (Matt 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1, Luke 23:25)
What is good about this?
Jesus was beaten, battered and broken, under the most excruciating pain imaginable. He had envisaged this barbarism as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He cried, ‘42saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
’ 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’Luke22:44
After the thorough scourging that marred and disfigured Him so badly, (There is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isa 53:2 ) He was given a cross to carry to Golgotha. As He carried the cross, it weighed Him down and He fell under its weight several times as drops of sweat and blood dripped down His body.
Eventually they reached the scene of the crucifixion where they put the nails to His hands and feet and mocked Him: Hail, king of the Jews.’ Others said,’He saved others but He cannot save himself.’ If You are the Son of God, come down from that cross.’
Others were interested in His seamless gown and cast lots to see who will win.
( Matt 27:5)
The Soldiers Mock Jesus ( Matt 27:27-31,37-44)
This was still Friday. Have you seen any good in all this yet? Wait for it.
Summary of the Horrors
We have seen:
the unbelievable betrayal of Jesus by one of His disciples,
the trumped-up charges and accusations,
the sham and shameful trial like a criminal
His rejection and the triumph of the mob who preferred a criminal in the place of Jesus,
the injustice meted out by the high priest, even though He was innocent
the barbaric scourging, the mocking;
the crown of thorns criminals being crucified with Him, shameless casting of lots for His garment, apart from beating Him mercilessly beyond recognition
We saw how He was forced to carry His cross despite the excruciating trauma He was going through. Many times along the way to Golgotha, He crashed under the weight of the cross until they drafted Simon of Cyrene to help carry the cross. Matt 27:31-32
There was the driving of the nails into His hands and feet and suspending Him between heaven and earth with the sign ‘All Hail King of the Jews. There was the piercing of his side, when water and blood flowed
His disciples forsook Him and fled.
One of the disciples He had trusted most-Peter- denying Him not just once or twice but three times.
He died eventually.
In this catalogue of woes where is the good?
What a day it was!
So what is good about Good Friday?
Now let’s see the goodness in Good Friday:
Thank God for Good Friday!
Jesus, facing the ominous darkness that would descend on Him soon as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, came to a cross road where He was tempted to backtrack, bypass the cross (the bitter cup)- the reason why He was born but He resolved: ‘Not my will but your will be done.’
If He had backed out, we would have remained in our sin. Salvation plan would have been aborted.
Thank God for Good Friday!
On that day when the hordes of hell came to arrest Him, remember when Peter tried to defend Him in bravado and cut off the ears of one of the soldiers, Jesus rebuked Peter and rose above the occasion and healed that man. That was a lesson for us all that we can rise over evil with good, regardless of what we face.
Jesus handled His trial with dignity as an example for us to follow when we are tried or falsely accused. There were moments when He was simply silent before his accusers in fulfilment of prophecy (Isa:53:7). We too must learn to leave our case with God when we are falsely accused and mocked as we face the Race of Grace in pursuance of our destiny. There is a price to pay in the pursuance of purpose. Jesus paid His and we must be ready to pay ours as His disciples.
Jesus died for those He created, those who rejected Him. And that includes you and I. He died for our sins He was our perfect Lamb slain to take away our sin. ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.’ ( Heb9:22)
Before Jesus died, He taught some powerful enduring lessons in His seven immortal statements, even as He hung on that cross. These truths teach us many powerful lessons about the goodness of Good Friday.
“Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.”
What a powerful statement and prayer of magnanimity and forgiveness in His hour of death; an example for us to follow in time of crisis. He saw through the eyes of the Father and so should we in our moments of crisis. We too should pray for our persecutors.
“Woman, behold your son!”.’ He was still thinking of taking care of His mother even whilst on the cross and suffering such agony. John19:27
We too should look beyond ourselves and provide for our loved ones regardless of what we go through. That is selflessness, love and care openly demonstrated.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Whilst one of the criminals hung with him mocked Him: “He saved other but He cannot save Himself the other was very respectful and acknowledge He was innocent and prayed to be remembered. Jesus immediately assured him of his salvation. This is a powerful lesson about penitence and salvation which He taught us on the cross. This is surely a powerful truth about Good Friday. God would forgive anyone of their sin if they acknowledge it, no matter when. Luke23:43
“I thirst” When Jesus made his utterance we saw His humanity permeating His divinity. He was thirsty, dehydrated like we would be and asked for water. But instead of giving Him water they gave Him vinegar mixed with gall- a poison. He was teaching us that you cannot rely on man. Man will disappoint you. Only God is totally reliable.
It Is Finished John 19:30