Jesus suffered a terrible and awful death by crucifixion, so why then when we commemorate this event, do we call it “Good Friday”?
Suggested Daily Reading: Matthew 27: 27-56
“I have a friend who is not a Christian. She asked me why many Christians wear a cross and many churches display one. She says that if people knew how gruesome death on a cross really was that no person would celebrate this. She cannot understand why we would call the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion as Good Friday. She thinks seeing anyone die on a cross would be a terrible Friday. How should I answer her?”
Do you remember the history of Joseph? Think of the terrible cruelty of Joseph’s brothers to sell their brother as a captive into a lifetime of slavery in a far country to never see him again. Even years later, when they experienced trouble in Egypt, we read the brothers reaction, “And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us” (Gen. 42:21). This act was a terrible, awful and evil thing. The brothers still retained the memory of this years later.
After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers came to him to confess their sin and ask for his forgiveness. Joseph responded, “As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20).
We celebrate “Good Friday” not because the act of crucifixion was good. It was a terrible, awful thing to witness. But Jesus’ death was “good” because of the wonderful results it produced. Like Joseph’s history, God used evil actions to bring forth wonderful results to preserve many people’s lives.
Jesus’ death paid the full price of His people’s sin. He died as their substitute. Their sin debt is completely paid. They are spoken free. The great gulf between a righteous God and a death-worthy sinner is bridged. God and His children are reconciled. They are adopted as children and family bonds of love are established forever. This is good news for sinners! The best news ever! This is why the church speaks of Good Friday.
The word “gospel” means “good news.” The gospel is God’s message of His plan of salvation for sinners in Jesus Christ. Why is the gospel “good news”? Yes, the best news ever? Good Friday testifies of the heart and foundation of this good news. Is the gospel the best news possible for you?