“Good Friday” is a catchy phrase—an easy way to remember a very important day. But let’s be honest…the name falls short in capturing the depth of emotion and eternal significance of the day it celebrates. And yet Jesus told His followers to remember His death every time they gathered. He wanted them to always keep it in front of them. He wanted this understanding to be at the forefront of their minds.
But why? I don’t know about you but my heart doesn’t do well with focusing on pain and suffering. There’s nothing “good” about it. He wanted to make sure we got the message: You can’t understand me apart from the Cross. If you want to know who I am and how I feel about you, remember the Cross.
It’s impossible for us to understand the brutality of what Jesus went through. Crucifixion was such an extreme form of punishment that the Roman Empire did not allow it to be used on a citizen of Rome. Why did this happen? Was it an awful tragedy? Who is responsible? Who should we blame: Judas? Pilate? The Pharisees? The Jews? The Romans?
One of the things I love about Jesus—He didn’t just tell us to remember His death…He told us why. The Cross was not an unplanned tragedy. If the disciples had more courage or Pilate had more sense, it would not have been avoided. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him.
He gave His life for the healing of our broken world.
He gave His life to save us from an eternity separated from God.
He gave His life to bring us back home and to place us in the family of God.
Long before Easter, Jesus told His followers: “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.” (John 10:18 NLT)
This is not to minimize what He endured—it was worse than we could ever imagine. But He wasn’t a helpless victim. He was showing the whole world the greatest power in creation—the unearned, undeserved, never-ending love of God.
Not a love for a few good people. Not a love for determined, principled, spiritual people. Not a vague kindness or a sweet sentiment.
This is not an ordinary love. This not the fickle love that lets us down.
This love is different.
The Bible say this is how we know what love is. In other words, everything that claims to be love has to compare itself to what Jesus did for us on the Cross. A supernatural love strong enough to bring the dead to life. A supernatural love available to any who would receive it—any, not just on that day, but EVERY day.
This is why we remember the Cross. And this is what makes Friday so Good.