When we look at the events of the day Jesus died, it is hard to find anything good. After all, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, denied, tried and crucified – even though three times Pontius Pilate pronounced him innocent of any crime worthy of death (John 18:38;19:4,6).
On the surface, nothing that happened on this Friday can be considered good – unless you share the perspective of Caiaphas the high priest (John 11:50).
But digging deeper, looking behind the scenes, we do find something good. Scripture testifies that Jesus’ death was not a great tragedy, but rather a great victory. For example:
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)
We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1b-2)
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3)
This last verse not only highlights the significance of Christ’s death, but also mentions that is was “according to the Scriptures”. What might this refer to?
Approximately 700 years prior, the prophet Isaiah foretold the sufferings of God’s servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Several verses here indicate the significance of his suffering.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:5-12)
So seven hundred years prior to the event, we might say that God published the “screen play” for Good Friday. The unjustified suffering of God’s servant would result in the justification of many. This is what Paul has in mind when he says, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
So what is so good about Good Friday? Christ died for our sins. Jesus is therefore the Savior of the whole world (John 4:42; 1 John 2:2) and especially of those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). Although from a human perspective we see nothing good about the day Jesus died, from God’s perspective, Christ’s death achieved the greatest good!
Allow me to suggest three responses to these wonderful truths.
1. Believe in him
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
When we understand what is good about Good Friday, our first response is to place our trust in Jesus. Although Jesus died for the sins of all humanity, God’s forgiveness is bestowed only on those who trust in him and receive him as Savior and Lord. Are you trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life?
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
2. Worship him
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
Understanding what is good about Good Friday leads us to worship Jesus. Pause a moment and worship him – for he is worthy. Thank him for all that he has accomplished.
3. Share the Good News
On the Resurrection Sunday, Jesus appeared to his disciples and told them.
Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46,47)
Jesus charged his followers to tell the good news of Good Friday to everyone in the whole world. This mission remains for our generation. Billions have yet to hear the Good News and embrace the Savior.
With whom will you share this good news today?