All who pause for reflection and allow their hearts to wander in wonder down the Way of Suffering feel the darkness of this day in history. Good Friday was anything but good – yet, because of God’s unsearchable love for you and me, it was the pathway to our hope, to our forgiveness… and to eternal life.
Injustice took center stage that day as Pilate turned Jesus over to a rowdy mob though he had found no fault in him. Roman soldiers rendered Him wounded and weak as they flogged an innocent man – the perfectly innocent Son of man – with 39 excruciating lashes.
A twisted crown of thorns was placed on his head and a purple robe draped over his shoulders as the crowd struck Him in the face and mocked God’s Son (John 19:1-3).
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
Forced, then, to carry the weight of a heavy, wooden cross through streets full of accusations and curses, Jesus, the Messiah, was led toward the hill of death to the place of the skull: Golgotha.
He was poked, prodded, and provoked by angry voices that cried for his torture. For his death.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:3).
Nails to flesh.
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).
On that pivotal day, darkness hurled hatred at the Light of the World. The sun stopped shining and the sky grew black as night as the beloved Son of God drew His final breath and declared, “It is finished.”
It. Is. Finished.
A spear to His side (John 19:34).
The tomb. Myrrh. Aloe. Burial. Heaven’s sorrow.
All for you. All for me. This sacred substitution.
To fulfill the wrath of a holy God who cannot accept imperfection into His presence, the Bible tells us that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21) … and that the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf brought a new and living way of redemption to all who would call on His name. Once for all (Hebrews 9 and 10).
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
His punishment. Our peace.
By His wounds we are healed.
Read that again: by His wounds we are healed. Made whole. Forgiven. Saved. Redeemed. Set free.
The condemnation of our failings no longer bind us to hopelessness.
It is finished because though darkness shook the earth with death that Friday long ago, the grave could not hold Jesus and death could not defeat Him!
Friday brought death, but Sunday brought life!
He is risen, friend! He is risen, indeed!
Dear Lord, My heart is swollen with the weight of Your love. That You would give Your only Son to make a way for me to know You – to be made right with You – to be made righteous in Jesus – is more than I could ever, ever thank You for. All glory and honor and praise be to Your name, Jesus! Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
How have you been changed by the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus?
Let’s pray together today. Meet us in the comments section to share your heart and pray for one another.