While we refer to the day of Jesus’ trial and execution as Good Friday, it was a day of horror and agony for Jesus and His disciples. Being separated from this moment for over two thousand years, it’s easy to fail to comprehend the magnitude of horrors that everyone involved experienced. Join me as we consider this event from various viewpoints of the individuals involved. My purpose here is to encourage you to reconsider this event in light of Easter and how that God works through history.
Foremost, Jesus is being obedient to His Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption. Jesus came to earth to die in order to save the lost. Jesus is fully aware that He must suffer God’s Wrath for our sins in order to complete His mission. Isaiah 53 reveals:
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. KJV Isaiah 53:4-7
Jesus speaks from the cross. I will summarize the most important items He addresses:
- Jesus forgives those who have executed Him. He sets us an example of forgiving others.
- He promises the thief on the cross next to Him that He will be with Him in paradise–His grace saves immediately!
- He entrusts His earthly mother to John’s care. Jesus is thinking about Mary and her needs.
- Jesus lets us know that His sacrifice is effective when He says it is finished.
This article and included video gives seven sayings and more details for you to study. I recommend using this article as a personal devotion:
Good Friday is the darkest day of all of history especially when Jesus endures God’s Wrath for our sins. He was forsaken and separated from His Heavenly Father for a period of time. However, without Good Friday there could be no Easter Resurrection. We tend to focus on the victorious aspects of God, Jesus, and Christian life while not considering or minimizing the “dark” and “difficult” things.
Following Christ is far more than an emotional decision that we make at church or some evangelistic event–it’s a consistent, daily choice to die to ourselves in order to find life in Christ. Jesus commands us to “take up our cross and follow Him” Luke 14:27. Got questions explains this command and what it means
Simply explained, we must die to our self in order to live in Christ. Following Christ isn’t a half-hearted decision that we make in order to please our friends, ease our consciences, or to improve our lives. Jesus gave up His life, we must do the same. Are you living for and through Him?
The disciples were horrified and terrified of what was happening. Who was present?
This horrible Friday was a shattering event to the disciples and followers! They were wondering how it was possible that the Messiah could be killed. They (like us many times) didn’t fully understand God’s plan(s). God’s plans aren’t our plans. It’s easy to forget this with our cultural Christianity and religious understandings of life. One of the main reasons that I ready Larry Crabb’s works is because he consistently warns about having false notions of God and His ways. He identifies this issue and gives examples in all of his works.
For example, God exists and works in history to accomplish His redemptive purposes for His glory. This means that good people who trust Him will suffer and things won’t work out as we desire. God will bring or allow difficulties and trials in our lives so that we can be a witness to others as we become more like Christ and less like our world.
We as fallen humans have a tendency to make God into an idol that we can appease with our good deeds, prayers, or other forms of manipulation in order to get the “good” things that we desire more than God. God is bigger than us and has plans beyond our capacity to understand. We can’t fully comprehend God or His ways, but we can trust and obey Him in what He clearly reveals in His Word to us.
Remember how that Peter tries to correct Jesus when He announces His suffering and death. Jesus promptly rebukes Peter’s notion as being satanic. Have you ever tried to tell God what to do? Doesn’t work very well.
Thankfully, Jesus came full of grace and truth to rescue us from our own depravity and sinful desires. I write this blog as a person who has struggled (for years) in understanding God’s calling in career and ministry. I daily struggle to fully trust and obey God myself. God disciplines and molds those He loves. Our failures and weaknesses lead us closer to Him if we allow Him to work! He shatters our frail and wrong notions about Him and life!
I write this because this is the lesson from the disciples! Remember that Peter denied Christ three times. The others (men except for John) fled and abandoned Jesus. They were slow to believe the report of His resurrection even when Jesus clearly told them how things were going to occur. We see this truth is the Gospels when the authors mention that Jesus said that He was going to killed and then rise again. The Gospel authors relate that they didn’t understand this until after it happened. Like the disciples, we need Jesus to teach us about God. Thankfully, God sends Holy Spirit and provides us with His Word to teach, convict, and guide us.
Andy Rau gracefully handles this topic in his blog post:
What about us?
I’ve written numerous blogs about disappointment and shattered dreams. They are available for you when you need encouragement or perspective. What I want to encourage you to do is to remember and live in the reality of Christ’s Redemption! No matter what setbacks and failures that come into your life, remember that Christ redeems all!
We are valuable and precious to God because of His great Grace not because of anything that we do! The hymn Because He Lives is a great reminder and encouragement that because He lives we can live in and through Him! The horrors of Good Friday gave way to the victorious Resurrection! We can live in Him through faith and hold fast until He returns to take us home or we pass into His presence!
Because He Lives
Gloria Gaither / William J. Gaither Because He Lives lyrics © Capitol CMG Publishing
May God’s grace and truth sustain you on your journey of faith, for His glory and honor I remind you of His truths with this writing,