It’s Good Friday! Happy Good Friday or Happy Easter weekend – whichever you prefer. I hope you have a wonderful weekend planned with family, or just some nice chill-out time at home. Not forgetting the important matter today of eating the traditional fish and hot cross buns. Hopefully not at the same time, although I may have just come up with an incredible new recipe there! Perhaps you could batter your hot cross buns?
It’s hard, when someone asks you about why you think Good Friday is called Good. Because in our logic and understanding there is nothing Good about being put to death. And this is what we remember about Jesus today.
After he was arrested, Jesus was put on trial. Pilate was responsible for trialling and judging criminals. When it came to Jesus though, Pilate had a problem. He could find nothing that he had done wrong, and nothing to charge him with. Washing his hands of the problem, he put it out to the crowd – who would they want him to set free? Barabbas, who was in prison murder, or Jesus? The crowd wanted Barabbas freed and so Jesus was to be crucified.
He was beaten, mocked and humiliated. Guards stole his clothes, beat him and created him a crown of thorns mocking him as their King. He then carried his own cross to Golgotha (meaning place of the Skull, or Skull Hill), before being nailed to it. A sign was made for it, saying ‘King of the Jews’. He was crucified amongst other criminals, left to die whilst crowds watched on.
Sometimes it becomes really too easy to detach from this story. We might hear it every so often, or phrases like “Jesus was put to death on the cross” just kind of roll out of our mouths without the actual thought of the horrifying truth that it actually is. A man, who lived on this Earth, who had friends and family, who taught people a better way to live was BEATEN, NAILED and LEFT to die.
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
How many times in our lives have we felt this way? I know I have. That if there’s a God he’s clearly forgotten or left us behind. And at this moment, whilst waiting to die, Jesus felt the same – where was God? It was then, just as he died that Jesus uttered the words: “It is finished”.
They are big powerful words. They are a sign that his time on Earth as a man was over. That he had fulfilled the prophesies that there were about him. That he’d paid the price for the sin of mankind.
And that is why it is a GOOD Friday. And that although we never want to lose sight of the suffering Jesus endured for us, we are remembering that his time on Earth changed the world. It’s changed my world. It keeps me safe in the knowledge that I am loved, that I owe my life to Jesus and that even when I’m not measuring up to standard, Jesus has already decided that I am worth it all.