We call it Good Friday, but for those who experienced it, a better name would have been Terrible Friday.
On that day, when an instrument of death and torture became the throne for the King of kings, the disciples of Jesus slept while their Savior suffered such mental anguish that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Then religious leaders bribed, cheated, and lied to trap Jesus with blatant injustice, causing His disciples—His friends—to cower in fear, denying and forsaking their Savior.
It is because of the cross that there is an empty tomb—for in God's economy, life comes from death.
Jesus endured a mock trial filled with ironies, illegalities, contradictions, and tragedies. Jesus, God in the flesh, was slapped, stabbed, beaten, and spat upon; He experienced physical pain and humiliation beyond description. But nothing He endured could compare with the wrath of God that was poured out on Him for the sins of the world. Your sin, my sin—Jesus paid it all on Good Friday.
Read Luke 22:39-46. The author of Hebrews tells us that "[f]or the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame" (12:2). Even in the midst of tremendous sorrow and agony, Jesus could see the joy that would come in His obedience to God—the joy of knowing that countless people would be saved and spend eternity with Him.
You see, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was deeply distressed and troubled. In His divinity, He knew what was in store for Him. In His humanity, He wondered if there was another way. Make no mistake about it—Jesus gave His life willingly. He prayed, "Abba, Father, . . . everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36).
How can we be sure of Christ's victory? Because of the resurrection. It is the greatest proof that God redeems sinners and that all who come to Him in repentance will find forgiveness and eternal life in Him. It is because of the cross that there is an empty tomb—for in God's economy, life comes from death. And it is all because of Good Friday, a day that is most appropriately named, after all.
Prayer: Lord, may I never become numb to the price You paid to save me. Thank You for Your willingness to give Your life on Good Friday. Thank You for paying the price for my sins and for saving me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"[S]ince we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, . . . let us draw near to God" (Hebrews 10:19-20, 22).