Why do we call this day “Good” Friday? After all, this day was anything but good physically and emotionally for our Master. On "Good" Friday Jesus suffered emotional and physical pain that most of us could never fathom.
Emotionally, it was a bad day for Him because He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, and rejected by the rest of them. The very people that He poured into for more than three years had turned their backs on Him and left Him to face this day all alone. This pain alone is enough to drive many to the end of life.
Yet He also endured physical pain. The crown of thorns that pierced the tender skin on His head! The brutal scourging that most Roman prisoners didn’t survive! The nails through then wrists and ankles! The agonizing six-hours of suffocation on the tree!
“Good?” What’s so “good” about that!?
The “good” in Good Friday is twofold:
First, it was ultimately “good” to Jesus because He saw past the suffering to the resurrection and the purpose for which He was laying down His life – the Father’s foreordained plan of redemption.
“For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the suffering of Good Friday because He know it would lead to our salvation and the satisfaction of God’s righteous penalties for our sin.
Second, Good Friday was also “good” for us in that the punishment for sin that each of us deserved was poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, while forgiveness and salvation were poured out beyond measure and made available to all who trust, by faith, in the work accomplished on Good Friday and the vacated tomb of Sunday.
Good Friday is “good” because the work on the cross brought about the greatest of gifts, the forgiveness of God, to a lost and dying world (which includes you and I!).
The cross provides for us the greatest example of what a paradox is. The cross is the place of great suffering, but also the place of great forgiveness. The cross is the place where God demanded righteousness, but also the place where God freely offered mercy! It is the place where great sadness and agony occurred, yet it is also the place where great joy can be found! The cross is a place of death, yet it is also a place where life – eternal life – was accomplished. Paradoxically, as horrific as Good Friday was for Jesus, that day permits us to receive the joy of Easter.
So, while Good Friday was actually bad in many ways, I believe the term “good” is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of our Lord, as bad as it was, was the climactic unfolding of God’s plan to save you and I from our sins, and that, my dear friends, is a very GOOD thing!
Blessing to you on this Good Friday!