This is the day that I least look forward to writing about. Yet, it was the second most important day since the creation of the universe, second only to Resurrection Sunday two days later. I remember one Good Friday when our family attended a noon service that included meditating on the Stations of the Cross while walking around the church campus. We were guests at the church, and our son, who was about ten years old, wanted to carry the cross. We tried to tell him No and to allow the others to do it, but he weaseled his way up there and got his turn. After the meditations, we all got in our car to go to lunch, on the way both of our children said that they weren’t very hungry after that experience. When you stop to really think about and meditate on Good Friday, you will feel that way too. There is almost too much evil to take in. The injustices, the blood, the gore, the abandonment; it will take your appetite away.
From Friday around 1 a.m. Jesus was arrested, hastily pushed through six trials by three different courts, Sanhedrin (Jewish), Pilate (Roman), Herod (Political Jews), flogged, crucified and died. He was denied three times by Peter during the night before the rooster crowed. He was abandoned by all except a few followers, mainly women and John. He was mocked and misunderstood by Pilate and Herod. He made seven statements from the cross, but most of the time it was silent agony. Midday turned dark for His final three hours on the cross. Finally, it was over, and all hell broke loose in the Temple—veil torn in two, earthquakes and ghosts rising from the dead. How do you take in, much less summarize, all the events that happened to Jesus in one twenty-four hour period?
If it was all too terrible to think about and write about here, let’s talk about why He did it. What was the purpose of all this terror? Hebrews 12:2b tells us, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He endured the cross and scorned its shame because He knew on the other end would be the pure joy of sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God. This Lenten Season I have been struck with the reality that the cross was definitely not Jesus’ will. He talked about it so confidently and experienced it so purposefully that it’s easy to overlook that Jesus said the cross was not His will. I asked Jesus what that was all about. I wondered why it wasn’t His will. Everything He said and did told me He thought we were worth saving.
I sensed that Jesus showed me that, just like me, His flesh didn’t want to do God’s will. His flesh had a will. He wanted to save us. He didn’t want to follow Satan’s plan for gaining the whole world offered to Him when He was tempted in the garden, but this plan of God wasn’t an easy will to carry out. His flesh wanted to protect Him from the spiritual and physical pain that He did experience after He surrendered to God’s will. We have Good Friday and a great salvation because Jesus made Himself willing to trust in God’s goodness and believed that there was no other way to save us. Are you willing to accept God’s will for you that you believe in the power of the cross for your salvation? Are you willing to trust in God’s goodness even when He is leading you to the valley of the shadow of death? Good Friday is hard to meditate about but so important to do in order to know the love of God and trust in His goodness through the gory, dark and horrendous details of this day.
Note: I’ve written Holy Week Devotions which are available at http://www.pcbc.org/holyweekdevotions if you would like to think about what Jesus did each day of Holy Week. May you have a blessed Holy Week!