What Makes Good Friday So Good?
Friday, April 2, 2021
Travis Waits, Operations Pastor
11Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,”Jesus replied. 12When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 15Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
32As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. 38Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
45From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 55Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
In Matthew 27 we read the story of Jesus before Pilate, hours before his crucifixion. No advocate by his side, we read how Jesus was mocked by the religious leaders of the day. Betrayed. Arrested. Abandoned. Beaten. Sentenced to die. Paraded in shame, a crown of thorns placed on his head, he carried his cross. Ultimately his fate was sealed and he was crucified in obedience to God.
It is where we read one of the most relatable, and misunderstood, versus spoken by Jesus in all of Scripture: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Have you ever wondered, “Where is God in all of this?” Where is he in our pain, our disappointments, our shame? Does God understand? Are you sure this is the plan, God?
How on earth could the death of Jesus be considered good? Without Jesus paying our impossible debt, it would be impossible for us to have a relationship with God. The holiness of God demanded a blameless sacrifice, and Jesus was that sacrifice for us. The Word says at that moment of Jesus releasing his spirit, “the veil was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split” (v.51). I believe that was part of God’s cry for the pain his son Jesus was experiencing – his grief – and his empathy for humanity.
It is through the humanity of Jesus that God became relatable to all of us. Our humanity. Our pain. Our despair. Our hopelessness. God gets it, because Jesus was fully human, experiencing all the same emotions we do – and yet without sin. “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” Colossians 2:9 NLT.
God is for us. In fact, he loves you just as much on your worst day, as your best day. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we get to have right standing before God. The debt of our sin has been paid. In Christ we are new creations, with a new destiny and eternity. The Word says “… in him you have been made complete…” (Colossians 2:10). Redeemed, forgiven, loved. The gift of God’s grace to us through Jesus makes this all possible.
What was good about Good Friday? It was the proof for us that Jesus, as the centurion declares in Matthew 27:54, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
This is what makes Good Friday so good!
Jesus, thank you for taking my place on the cross and the penalty of my sin. Please be real to me. When things are hard, help me to trust you above my circumstances. When things are good, help me to praise you all the more. Thank you for your love, your grace, and your forgiveness. Amen.
- It is hard to trust God often when we can’t see him at work. Gratitude changes our perspective so that we can see God in the midst of any situation. What 3 things are you grateful for today?
- Is there a time in life that was hard, but looking back at it now, it was good? What was it? Why is it good now? (Romans 8:28).
Illustrate & Discuss
Supplies Needed: piece of wood or a log, 3 nails, hammer
Have your child(ren) examine the piece of wood and make some observations.
What if you had to carry this a long distance? What would happen?
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
- The Bible says that after Jesus was beaten, he had to carry the cross he would be crucified on. Jesus was weak after being hurt and couldn’t carry it the entire way. The Bible says that another man, Simon, carried the cross for him the rest of the way.
- At any time, Jesus could have stopped the soldiers. Why didn’t he?
- Jesus loves us and knew he needed to sacrifice himself so that we could be made right with God.
Get things quiet in the room. Have your kid(s) nail the nails into the wood/log.
- Jesus was fully God and fully human. He chose to not use his power as God to stop the soldiers from hurting him and spitting on him. He chose to have nails driven through his wrists and feet. Jesus chose to hang on the cross and die for us.
- How do you feel after hearing about what happened to Jesus?
- Why did Jesus have to die?
- You are a sinner. I am a sinner. God can have nothing to do with us because he is holy and we are sinners. Jesus came to provide a way for us to have a relationship with God. If you believe in Jesus, his death provides a way for us to live with God for forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us. Thank you for taking the punishment for all of our sins. We ask for your forgiveness. We love you, Jesus.