Today is Good Friday. This holiday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This crucifixion, coupled with the resurrection, is the crux of the Christian faith. The question that comes to my mind this year for me is what was so special about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and what is so good about Good Friday? Now, before you cast me aside as heretical or blaspheming, please hear me out.
Crucifixion was a very common method of punishment for the Roman Empire. Countless thieves, criminals, and those who rose up in opposition to the Empire were crucified. Often, these crucifixions were public events. The Roman crosses were often placed upon hills or alongside roads that were frequented by travelers.
Since crucifixion was common in the Roman Empire, what was so special about the crucifixion of Jesus? I believe there are many answers to this question. In fact, there are more answers to this question than I have space to develop in this one blog post. I will, however, discuss a few of them.
First, Jesus had broken no civil laws. In fact, his condemnation was the result of allegations of blasphemy during his illegal trial before the Sanhedrin (cf. Matthew 26:65).
Secondly, I believe the supernatural events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus provided a great amount of distinction from other crucifixions. There was three hours of darkness, in the middle of the day, while Jesus was on the cross. When Jesus died, there was an earthquake and the veil of the temple was torn, from top to bottom. Clearly, this crucifixion was different from all of the others.
Now that I have briefly discussed what distinguished Jesus’ crucifixion from others, this leads me to question what is so good about Good Friday. Primarily, the standard answer among Christian circles is that through the death of Jesus, we have an opportunity for the remission of sin. This is absolutely true, and I do believe this is the primary reason to commemorate His death. But, I want to go beyond the element of salvation.
The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah provides a list of who and what Jesus was on that first Good Friday.
- Forsaken of men
- A Man of sorrows
- Acquainted with grief
- Smitten of God
- Pierced for our transgressions
- Crushed for our iniquities
- Chastened for our well-being
- Scourged for our healing
- Cut off from the land of the living
In addition to this list, the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, and the events leading up to it, provide other atrocities that Jesus endured.
- Spit on
- Accused by false witnesses
- Accused by the chief priests and elders
Now, you may be asking yourself, “So what?” I know, I know, you have heard all of this before. But, I am challenging myself, and you, to see these events in a new light.
Have you ever been despised or forsaken? I know I have.
Have you ever been a man, or woman, of sorrows? I have.
Have you been acquainted with grief? I have.
Have you felt smitten of God? I have.
Have you been afflicted? I have.
Have you been spit on? I have.
Have you been slapped and beaten? I have.
Have you been accused by false witnesses? I have.
Have you been accused by the authorities in your life? I have.
Have you been mocked and abused? I have.
So what is my point? I would say that we have all experienced most, if not all of the things that Jesus experienced during His last hours on this earth. Jesus didn’t deserve any of this, and most likely, neither have we.
So what is good about this Good Friday? Jesus endured the verbal, physical, and mental abuse for us! Fully understanding the depth of this is beyond comprehension. But, it comforts me that when I am going through anything that I mentioned above, I know Jesus endured it first! This is truly a good reason to celebrate this Friday!!!