Some ask why it’s called “good.” That’s what we’ll learn and apply today.
Here’s an outline of what happened on Friday1:
- Betrayal and Arrest (Matt. 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12)
- Jesus tried before Jewish Authorities (John 18:13-24; Matt. 26:57-27:2; Mark 14:53-15:1; Luke 22:54-71; John 18:19-24)
- Jesus tried before Roman Officials (Matt. 27:2-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:16)
- Jesus is Crucified – approx. 9am to 3pm (Matt. 27:27-54; Mark 15:16-39; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-37)
- The body of Jesus is placed in the Tomb (Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-54; John 19:38-42)
Mark 15:33–39 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”  And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (ESV)
What can we learn from this text?
For roughly six hours Jesus hung on His cross. The Gospels help us understand that from 9am to 3pm Jesus suffered on the cross between two criminals and surrounded by Roman soldiers who gambled for His clothing and a mixture of people who loved Him and hated Him.
Yet something happened at noon that intensified His suffering and lasted for the remaining 3 hours. Darkness settled over the whole land when typically light is at its brightest. What did this signify? According to God’s Word darkness like this signifies God’s judgment (Amos 8:9-10; Joel 3:15) and the lowest point of human existence. Jesus suffered not only at the hands of wicked men who judged Him unfairly and nailed Him to the cross; Jesus suffered under the almighty wrath of His Father. This was the “cup” that Jesus desired not to drink, but it was the cup He willingly drank for lost sinners. All the wrath of God for human sinfulness was poured out in full measure on Jesus.
This incomprehensible exchange, God’s wrath emptied into Christ, is the reason Jesus cried out as He did, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
The reason this Friday is called “good” is due to this exchange. You can consider this day in the Holy Week good because it’s the day Jesus took all God’s wrath for your sin. Jesus was forsaken by His Father so that believers never need fear that God will turn away from them. Have you trusted in Jesus for this exchange? You must believe, not merely that He died. You must believe that He died for your sins and received the full wrath of God that you deserved. Call out to Jesus that you believe and that you turn from your sin today to follow Him.
- Jesus endured such terrible physical pain and torture during Friday. Can you identify some of the affliction He endured in the passages for today?
- Remember, Jesus never ran from the physical suffering. Many times He could have. He even said if He asked, God would send 12 legions of angels at once to deliver Him (Matt. 26:53). Jesus did ask if there was any other way than to drink the full cup of God’s wrath and thus be separated from His Father for the first time in all eternity. Yet even this Jesus did not run from. He endured all that wrath for sinners and loved them to the cross.
- Jesus of course did not stay dead! But it is fitting on this Good Friday to allow the weight of what Jesus suffered to affect our hearts and our feelings. Take time to meditate on the suffering of our Lord today, knowing that Resurrection Day will come as Jesus predicted.
Oh, most Holy Jesus, how have You sinned to be afflicted so by Your Father’s holy wrath? Certainly, You did not sin. We are guilty. It should have been us who suffered and suffered eternally. But You took the wrath and bore the shame of our sin. Thank You for loving us so deeply. Thank You for obeying even to the point of death on the cross. Amen.
1. Crossway is currently offering free access to their ESV Study Bible. To access the Harmony of the Holy Week Chart, simply sign up for that resource, and even more, from Crossway.