Good Friday. Where did that name come from for the awful day our Lord Jesus was falsely accused, condemned, beaten, and crucified? Good? How was that day good? Scholars say the word “good” comes from the Old English “good” meaning holy. Yes, this was definitely a holy day. Others argue that the good comes from Jesus sacrificing himself for us. Obviously something good came from that – our salvation.
Here’s what happened. Early Friday morning, Judas realized what he had done and was overcome by guilt. With a heavy heart he hanged himself on a tree, not being able to live with what he had done. Around 9:00 a.m. Jesus was in the midst of being mocked, accused falsely, shamed, and horribly beaten. Still our precious Lord did not cry out. He endured. Then after a corrupt trial He was sentenced to be crucified, which is one of the most agonizing, painful, and disgraceful deaths of that time.
Still the soldiers would not leave Jesus alone. They placed a crown made out of pointed, sharp thorns on His head and pressed it down. Hard. Can you imagine the pain of just that one act? Then they mocked Him, spat on Him, and made Him carry His own heavy cross. He was still being tormented. Even as the soldiers hammered the nails in His precious body to the wooden cross, He was being insulted and mocked. Did He respond in kind? No. Through it all He remained silent.
His followers were clustered at the foot of the cross. They were mourning, grieving, and suffering. Did Jesus finally say anything? What did Jesus say? He told Mary and John there were now mother and son. He lifted His head and asked: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV). He asked for forgiveness for those crucifying and tormenting Him. Then, the soldiers divided His clothes among themselves. They continued to mock Him and baited Him saying if He was truly God’s Son, then save Himself. One of the thieves hanging beside Him asked Jesus to remember him for surely He was God’s Son. Jesus told the thief he would be in Paradise with Jesus.
Around noon it became very dark and gloomy. The sun stopped shinning. Around 2:00 Jesus asked “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And then Jesus realized to fulfill scripture one more thing must be done, so He said “I am thirsty.” They gave Him some sour wine on a sponge and held it up with a branch. After tasting it, Jesus said “It is finished.” He then said in a loud, clear voice with head lifted “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Then he died. This was about the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m. This literally shook the world. There was an earthquake, rocks broke, the temple curtains were torn in half, and tombs opened and bodies of Holy people were raised to life.” Wow! Can you imagine being there?
Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus so that He could be buried in a tomb on his land. Then before 6 p.m. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus down from the cross and lay His body in a tomb. They were both members of the Sanhedrin but now convinced that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. His body was guarded in the tomb all day Saturday (the Sabbath) by Roman soldiers. Then at 6:00 p.m. when the Sabbath ended His body was ceremonially prepared for burial with spices bought by Nicodemus. The tomb was sealed with a large, heavy stone that took more than one soldier to move. More soldiers were posted to guard overnight.
Did I take you to Good Friday and Saturday? I hope you were able to walk there and envision it. It is unbelievable the pain of that day, isn’t it. He did it for us. You and me.
“He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.” (John 19: 39-40, NLT)
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18-19, NLT)