What is good about Good Friday? ( by Fenny West)

Have you ever imagined what is good about Good Friday– the day of the crucifixion of Jesus?

Let’s examine events leading to this day and what eventually happened on that fateful day.

Judas, one of the disciples of Jesus, had connived with others and betrayed Jesus, selling Him for 30pieces of silver. Jesus had been treated like a chattel, to be exchanged for money. Love of money was working, big time. The entire lessons Jesus taught had gone into one ear and out the other. Judas, who was the treasurer and accountant, was not content with helping himself from the treasury, he wanted more and Jesus was his ultimate scalp, spoil, loot, prize- His Master.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

14     Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests

15     and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

16            So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him Matt26:14-16

And so after the money had changed hands, the hordes of hell, in the form of Roman soldiers were unleashed, with Judas at the helm of the pack, on their way to look for Jesus on concocted charges. Jesus had just finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and came swooping like hawks on their prey. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss to identify the ‘prize’ or target.

Could you believe it?

“Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely. Mark14:44

Matthew 26

48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”

 

49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

 

 

As they tried to arrest Jesus, Peter became bold and brash and unsheathes his dagger to defend Jesus, cutting off the ears of one of the soldiers.

48     But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49     When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”

50     And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

51     But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.

52     Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?

53     When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”Luke22:

 

 Peter, instead of getting a commendation, got a rebuke from Jesus. ‘, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

John18:11

.’

Jesus then proceeded to heal the man whose ear was dangling in the floor, while he reeled in anguish. What goodness! How exemplary! Would you have done that if you were in the shoes of Jesus? What a lesson to us on Good Friday!

Jesus wanted the disciples not to be in harms way even in that dark hour.

8       Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,”

 

The miracle that Jesus did never softened the hearts of the soldiers. He was still maltreated and dragged away to be interrogated.

Next we see Jesus on trial, accused of heresy. The people clamoured, even bayed for his blood like hounds on their prey: Crucify Him! Crucify Him!, they shouted. Pilate did not see any fault in Him, yet he was obliged to release someone on that occasion. The people wanted a criminal- Barabbas released instead of Jesus.

18     And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas” —

19     who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.

20     Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.

21     But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Luke23

6              Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. John19:16

Jesus Mocked and Beaten

63     Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.

64     And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?”

65            And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.Luke22:63-65

Jesus Questioned by the High Priest

19     The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

20     Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.

21     Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”

22     And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”

John18:19-22

Eventually, Jesus was condemned to die an ignominious death on the cross. He was scourged- beaten with rods and ropes that had spikes on them such that the spikes lodged themselves into his skin as they flogged Him. And as they pulled the ropes, flesh and blood was ripped out.

Matthew 27

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

 

Mark 15

15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

 

John 19

1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.

25     And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Luke23

 

What is good about this?

Jesus was beaten, battered and broken, under the most excruciating pain imaginable. He had envisaged this barbarism as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He cried, ‘42              saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

44  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’Luke22

 

After the thorough scourging that marred and disfigured Him so badly (There is no beauty that we should desire Him) Isa53:2 , He was given a cross to carry toGolgotha. As He carried the cross, it weighed Him down and He fell under its weight several times as drops of sweat and blood dripped down His body.

Eventually they reached the scene of the crucifixion where they put the nails to His hands and feet and mocked Him: Hail, king of the Jews.’ Others said ,’He saved others but He cannot save himself.’ If You are the Son of God, come down from that cross.’

Others were interested in His seamless gown and cast lots to see who will win.

5    Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”Matt27

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27     Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.

28     And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.

29     When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

30     Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.

31     And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matt27

37     And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38     Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

39     And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads

40     and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

41     Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said,

42     “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.

43     He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “

44     Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Matt27

This was still Friday. Have you seen any good in all this yet? Wait for it.

 

We have seen:

  1. the unbelievable betrayal of Jesus by one of His disciples,

  2. the trumped-up charges and accusations,

  3. the sham and shameful trial like a criminal

  4. His rejection and the triumph of the mob who preferred a criminal in the place of Jesus,

  5. the injustice meted out by the high priest, even though He was innocent

  6. the barbaric scourging,

  7.  the mocking; the crown of thorns even by criminals being crucified with Him,

  8. shameless casting of lots for his garment

  9. apart from beating Him mercilessly beyond recognition, we saw how He was forced to carry His cross  despite the excruciating trauma He was going through. Many times along the way to Golgotha, He crashed under the weight of the cross until they drafted a man to help carry the cross.

10. the driving of the nails into His hands and feet and suspending Him between heaven and earth with the sign ‘All Hail King of the Jews.’

11. piercing of his side, when water and blood flowed

12. His disciples forsook Him and fled

13. One of the disciples He had trusted most-Peter- denied Him not just once or twice but three times.

14. He died eventually.

In this catalogue of woes where is the good?

What a day it was!

What is good about Good Friday?

 

Now let’s see the goodness in good Friday:

Thank God for Good Friday!

Jesus, facing the ominous darkness that would descend on Him soon as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, came to a cross road where He was tempted to backtrack, bypass the cross (the bitter cup)- the reason why He was born but He resolved: ‘Not my will but your will be done.’

 

If He had backed out, we would have remained in our sin. Salvation plan would have been aborted.

 

Thank God for Good Friday!

 

On that day when the hordes of hell came to arrest Him Remember when Peter tried to defend Him in bravado and cut off the ears of one of the soldiers, Jesus rebuked Peter and rose above the occasion and healed that man. That was a lesson for us all that we can rise over evil with good, regardless of what we face.

Jesus handled His trial with dignity as an example for us to follow when we are tried or falsely accused. There were moments when He was simply silent before his accusers in fulfilment of prophecy.  We too must learn to leave our case with God when we are falsely accused and mocked as we face the Race of Grace in pursuance of our destiny.  There is a price to pay in the pursuance of purpose. Jesus paid His and we must be ready to pay ours as His disciples.

Jesus died for those He created, those who rejected Him. And that includes you and I. He died for our sins He was our perfect Lamb slain to take away our sin. ‘Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.’

 Before Jesus died, He taught some powerful enduring lessons in His seven immortal statements, even as He hung on that cross.

 

1. Mother, behold your son….’ He was still thinking of taking care of His mother even whilst on the cross and suffering such agony.

26     When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”

27     Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

John19

2. I thirst

3. Father, forgive them, For they know not what they do.

He was still praying for those who were crucifying Him- including you and I.  It was our sins that took Him to the cross.

 

28     After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” John19:28

 

 

 

4. Today, you will be with me in paradise.

This shows us the mercy of God to the genuinely penitent, even on their deathbed.

The thief who asked for forgiveness and acknowledged his sinfulness received pardon and assurance of salvation.

41     And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

42     Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43     And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me inParadise.”Luke23

 

 

5. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Ps22

Jesus Dies on the Cross

45     Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

46     And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”Matt27:45-46

 

Echoing the prophetic psalmist, this statement shows us the enormity of sin- separation from God. Yes, even the Son of God was separated from the Father.         for a moment, because of His sin, but because your sin and my sin. He was sinless. He who knew no sin was made to be sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ.

2Cor5:21

6. It Is Finished

 

‘It is finished! He finished that the Father gave Him to do- saving us from our sins.

Henceforth, anyone who confessed their sins and accepted Him as Lord and Saviour, will be saved and have a home in heaven assured of eternal life.

30     So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John19:30

You and I can also finish the work the ?father has for us to do. Paul finished and was able to say I have fought the good fight of faith, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith… 2Tim4:7-8

7. ‘Father into Your hands I commit my Spirit.’

Jesus Dies on the Cross

44     Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45     Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

46     And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”

God is the ultimate keeper of your soul and my soul. And what is committed into His hands, He is able to keep against that day .He is able to keep us faultless and present us before the presence of His glory with exceeding great Joy. Satan shall not triumph over us. Evil will not prevail. When we go through our good Fridays, we will be reminded that all things work together for our good because we love God and are called according to His purpose. Sunday, Resurrection day is coming!

 

The devil and his cohorts played into God’s hands when they crucified the Lord of Glory. Through it God’s redemption plan was fulfilled.

And so on the third day, just as Jesus predicted before He died, it happened, as He was raised from the dead. The grave could not hold Him. The cross could not keep Him. He rose up triumphant, truly the King of Glory.

The angel told Mary: ‘Look not for the living among the dead. He has risen, just like He said.’
The Resurrection and the Life is Alive.

Thank God for Good Friday. It was grim, grotesque, gruesome, traumatic, dark and dastardly but it paved the way for Easter. Yes, on Easter Sunday, the stone was rolled away, the Sun and the Son- the Sweet Rose of Sharon rose again from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. Glory! Hallelujah!

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