Passion Week: Good Friday 2024

Then he handed him over to be crucified. Then they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. (John 19:16–18, CSB)

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44–46, CSB)

Good Friday is a day marked by contrasts. The King of Kings was paraded before earthly rulers who should have had no authority to judge him (Luke 23:6-12). The innocent Son of God was condemned in the place of the vile Barabbas (Luke 23:13-35). The One who has no equal was lumped in with two other criminals in their condemnation. The name itself seems wrong—how could the greatest injustice in history be called “good?” How could it be that the death of death of the only truly innocent man be considered part of the beautiful turning point of all history?

All these events were miscarriages of justice to the worst degree. And yet, these are the very events God used to save the world. The Apostle Paul would later write,

And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13–14, CSB)

Paul describes the events of Good Friday as though all our sins—all the times we did what we wanted instead of what God said we should do—were written out on an invoice. You and I were dead and had no way to pay our debt. Jesus, through his death, nailed that invoice on the cross and paid it in full. He was judged for us; he took the penalty we deserved to pay. He made a way for anyone who trusts him to be saved and made alive spiritually!

Yes, that day was full of brutality and injustice. Humanity displayed its worst side as they condemned and crucified the King of Kings. Yet, through Jesus’s death, God displayed his deepest love for us. I would say that makes this day a Good Friday after all.

But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, CSB)
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