Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian faith. Jesus died for us. For me.
Click to see the full article from The Resurgence about Good Friday.
The Good (the Bad and the Ugly) Friday
If you haven’t fielded that question from a child or a newcomer to the Christian faith, you’ve probably wondered yourself. The common answer is “It’s good for us, because the cross is how Jesus saved us.”
But there is more to the story. The day Christ died was a good, bad, and ugly day like no other. And if you observe this day in the fullness of what it represents, your worship will be all the more passionate and truth-honoring, like sweet incense rising toward heaven.
First, the good (emphasis ours):
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honor of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death.
Jesus paid our debt, and saved us from God’s wrath. For the joy set before him, Christ chose to do his Father’s will, in spite of the pain, the shame, the horror. The gospel is far beyond anything else we could consider “good.”
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.
—Isaac Watts “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open His mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
The authorities tortured and murdered Jesus in the cruelest way they could devise. He was mocked, flogged, beaten, forced to wear a crown of thorns, and nailed from his hands and feet to a wooden cross.
“Our Savior suffered like no other, for a joy like no other.”
Don’t become desensitized to the violence. Consider afresh the horrors our Lord endured. In the words of the African American spiritual “Were You There?”
“Sometimes it causes me to tremble.”
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Judas betrayed him. His closest disciples fell asleep when he asked them to pray with him. Peter denied even knowing him, three times. His neighbors shouted “Crucify him!” His friends cowered in the distance.
Peter denied you three times, I have denied you more.
At some point, most of us have shirked from taking a stand for Christ, and for far less significant reasons than the threat that Peter felt.
Finally, even his Father forsook him to fulfill the requirement of the covenant. God placed all the wrath that we deserved on Jesus. No one has ever been so utterly alone. This is ugly.
And ultimately for our fate and for the glory of God, Good Friday.
Our Savior suffered like no other, for a joy like no other.