A Good Friday Reflection: Our Sacred Substitution

Gwen Smith Blog, Broken into Beautiful, Easter, Forgiveness, Freedom, Good Friday, Healing, Love, Peace, Sacrifice 103 Comments

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.

Crucify! Crucify!

“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.

Radical love.

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. Healed.

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! {TWEET this!}

Friday brought death, but Sunday brought life!

He is risen, friend! He is risen, indeed!

Reflect and respond with me today in worship and thanksgiving in light of the life we have in Christ alone!

Holy Father,

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!



This sacrifice of Jesus was personal, friend. And so is salvation. Have you ever responded on a heart level to this good news? Have you confessed your mistakes and failures to God? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ – trusting that what He did on the cross was for the forgiveness of your sins?

If you’re ready, let today be the day of your salvation by doing just this. Pray. Get right with God. Turn to Jesus. {If you pray to accept Jesus as your Savior today – or recommit your heart to Him, please CLICK HERE to go to my blog. Let me know in the comments section. We will pray for you and give you a few action points to help direct you toward what to do next!}



PS. I posted a SONG I co-wrote and recorded a few years back on my blog. The song is called Once and For All. Turn up your speakers and prepare your heart for a response of worship. CLICK HERE to listen.

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Comments 103

  1. What a beautiful blessing! It’s Palm Sunday 2021, Our Holy Week ahead, awesome beginning for reflection on God’s great Love! Have a wonderfully blessed Resurrection Celebration!

  2. Just finished reading your Good Friday article. The message of salvation in a nut shell indeed. I thank my God for His Son Jesus Christ who covered my sins with His Blood some 60 years ago. I am a retired Salvation Army Officer (Pastor). both my wife and I and we continue to spread the good news that “JESUS SAVES”:

    I was wondering if I may use your devotion for our small congregation between 20 and 40 in attendance in a little community of 241 people during this Lenten season? Please let me know. Blessings on you and your ministry I look forward to reading more of the same. Please acknowledge. lornehiscock@gmail.com

    Majors Lorne & Ella Hiscock
    P.O. Box 1144
    16 Quinton Street
    Lewisporte, NL
    A0G 3A0

  3. Gwen, I am writing to let you know that today is the day of my salvation, and I want to pray to get right with God! I need to recommit to him as my saviour, and I would like to pray and have others pray for me, as I will for them in order to reconnect my heart to him! Thank you Gwen!❤️

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  4. Thank you for reminding me again the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. The power of His resurrection. As you said, the condemnation of our failings no longer bind us to hopelessness. We have HOPE because of Jesus. Praise God 🙌.

  5. Wonderful blog and song! Thank you for sharing your beautiful God given talent. May God continue to bless you, your family and friends.

  6. Your song is absolutely heart wrenching and beautiful at the same time! You’ve conveyed what Good Friday really means followed up with what Christ’s resurrection really means for each of us.
    Is it possible that the lead sheet, sheet music and accompaniment track are available? I would love to be able to sing this for our congregation. Thank you for writing and performing this beautiful story off Easter. Blessings to you

  7. Thank your Gwen for this Emotional Powerful Reminder of why Good Friday is in fact GOOD FRIDAY 🎉✝️❤️I have been reflecting since 5:30 this morning on what this day means to me. It’s very deep personal day of reflection. I sit and just pray & talk to God & thank Him for His plan to send his Son to die for me.

  8. thanks for putting that blog together, so well knitted, loved the song. God has blessed you with many talents. putting them to work. blessed easter.

  9. Holy be his name! I recommit my heart and life to him, going through a desert. Thanking God for all you do.

  10. Thanks for taking the time out to minister to us in song
    May blessings come to your door more than you can contain
    Far beyond expectations

  11. Thank you for sharing your song! It was beautiful and so inspiring on this Good Friday! I enjoy your articles on Gwen Smith and Girlfriends in God. Happy Easter! HE LIVES!

  12. You have blessed me and I am forwarding this to many others so that they may receive the blessing! Thank you, todah rabah, for your devotional AND your anointed song!!
    Have a blessed Resurrection Day celebration (It’s Passover now, let’s not forget.)
    In Him, Davida

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  13. How beautiful, my sister! I am so grateful to God for you! I count it joy to walk this journey to God and to Jesus with you.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this beautiful song! Your voice is like an Angel! My spirits have been lifted and praises to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What an adorable inspiration especially in today’s world . Blessings!

  15. AT bank you so much for sharing this message with us. My Grandson, Christopher has stepped away from his faith. Would you pray for him?

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    1. Gwen…that’s a beautiful song…..Jesus went through alot for us so we can have a relationship with our heavenly father…I’m so glad he love us first and love us so much that He was willing to give up his only begotten son….I love you Jesus

  16. Gwen, thank you for your love and encouragement! This song is beautiful!
    Nathan’s Paul’s wife, Jenny’s sister, Julie, had her double mastectomy yesterday in Raleigh and is going home today. She is reading your book a fellow chemo patient gave her but we still do not know which one. We are so awed that God would touch another woman’s heart and bless Julie with one of your inspirational books at this time in her life.
    I promise to give you updates. We pray you and your family are well and wish you a blessed Easter season!
    With love in Him,
    Suzie Paul

  17. What a wonderful reminder for everyone! He paid the price for ALL of us and we can pause for today, a dreary day for Christ thousands of years ago, but celebrate knowing the ending to this story…. ETERNAL LIFE for all who believe! I enjoyed your beautiful song… thank you for sharing your God given talents with us! I pray that I will be everything God intends me to be, in this season….and every season! ❤️

  18. I recommit my heart and my life to you. Forgive me of my sins. Accept me as your child. I accept you as my Lord and Savior

  19. Every time I read how Jesus was crucified and how he sacrificed all that pain for our sins I feel said for his pain but hopeful to know that Jesus is with us. In these hard times of the coronavirus and people suffering and being out of jobs is hard but it is also a time to reflect and to remember exactly what today is Good Friday and that Jesus rose from the tomb on Easter Morning. I’m holding onto that as I watch a television Easter Celebration connect with some friends and be with family during this difficult times. thank you Gwen for sharing your time & talents with us.

  20. Jesus, I recommit much heart you. By your wounds we have been healed. Forever grateful for faith that gives powerful strength on this Good Friday.
    Thank you, Gwen, for all you do. Blessings to you and yours. (+)

  21. Thank you so much for your inspiring e-mails. I recommit myself to living a God-inspired life. It is hard to imagine someone loving us enough to endure the pain he must have felt those many years ago. But we believe by faith and I completely trust in God and his love for me. I am 66 and sometimes I wonder if I will see my children and grandchildren again. I have a new granddaughter born March 23 that I have not held yet. I have to lean into God to get through the nights where my stress just builds up. I wish I could say I knew I would see them again if I would pass, but that is not the case. I pray for God’s will in my life and an awakening in my children that they might come back to God and the hope promised through belief in Jesus.

  22. Amen! Thank you time and time again for your devotions. They touch my heart in so many ways. The love Christ shares in so many ways…through you, for all of us, through worship, through dying and rising 3 days later. How can this love be? I am thankful for His love and because of His love we can rejoice that HE IS ALIVE! Happy Resurrection Day to you!

  23. Thank you, Gwen, for your devotional this morning and for your song. In a time when we are not able to observe Good Friday in the ways we are traditionally accustomed to, I so appreciate your work. I lifted a prayer of praise thanking God for you. You are a “creative for the Creator” using the gifts He gave you to reflect His light, love, and beauty upon people and places where it is needed! I just connected with you this past week.

  24. “Once and for all”, Janie! “Once and for all!”Thank you, Gwen!” The Lord sat here with me this morning, singing and raising His hands high! I just smile and say, “thank you!”

  25. I really appreciated your devotional this morning and your song is so meaningful. Thank you!
    I pray that God will pour out his blessings upon you and your family as you minister to us so faithfully.

  26. AMEN…
    It is finished, it is done. God gave everything for us. We are covered with his Grace.
    Thank you Gwen. I appreciate your devotions and keeping us connected in this unusual confusing time.

  27. Wow! Loved it! Redemption such a beautiful word that oftentimes l have to remind myself that I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus. I have already been set free from condemnation and whenI allow myself to walk around feeling condemned I’m not embracing what our Lord Jesus did for me on Calvary! It truly is finished!!!

  28. Thank you for this Good Friday reflection. I have confessed my sins to God and am grateful for the forgiveness offered through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

  29. I have confessed my sins. I have asked for forgiveness but I still struggle with letting my past go. I am divorced but remarried. I know there is scripture about divorce in the Bible. Am I still forgiven even if I have remarried. I struggle with this daily.

  30. Gwen, thank you for this beautiful devotional….what a wonderful way to begin to focus my thoughts early on this Good Friday morning. It is still dark outside here in British Columbia, Canada. But the moon is bathing our world in a soft light….and we know that in just another hour the moon will be setting in the west as the sun rises to the east…and thus we will exchange darkness for light. Even so with Easter….such an amazing time of year when we as believers rejoice again in celebrating our Saviour who lived. Died. Was buried. Rose from the dead….and brought life and light into our world of sin. Death. Darkness. So these give way to Forgiveness. Freedom. Love. Peace. Faith. HOPE!! Thus I rejoice as I again recommit my life to serving this Risen Saviour who is in the world today. Blessings to you and yours, Lynn

  31. Gwen, my deepest thanks for your beautifully written account of the terrible sacrifice that was made for us that day and the incredible saving grace and mercy that was poured out. I pray that my heart will always remember and cherish this loving act and that my life will show the evidence. I also pray that my husband and son’s hearts will be turned toward Him and will commit their hearts and lives to our beloved Savior. In His name I pray. Amen.

  32. Awesome!!! The song captured The essence of Christ dying on the cross and rising in love for our redemption. 🌹 ❤

  33. Im a committed Christian of many years but as you know because of the trials of every day life in the imperfect world we live in one has the possibility of becoming rusty,i thank you for your inspirational devotions a welcome blessing may God bless you all, Anne,s Taylor 🙏🙏

  34. Love, love, love! Gwen, you made my heart soar with this beautiful song. Thank you for using your God-given gift to inspire us to lift our eyes to the risen Lord! What a blessing our lives crossed so many years ago and God used you as a vessel to bring me into a relationship with Him. Forever grateful…

  35. Exactly how I felt Selvie. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, question myself often. To think about his sacrifices he gave for me. He was wounded for our transgressions, by his stripes we are healed. Oh how he loves you and me.

  36. I Know I am forgiven.
    What haunts me is the pain I inflicted to my little innocent children. As adults they carry these pains.
    Then I pray to God for their emotional healing. It’s up to them their personal journey.
    But it haunts me.

  37. I have made so many mistakes in this lifetime. I do not feel worthy of my heavenly Fathers love or forgiveness. Yet, on this Good Friday, as I read the ugly detailed description of that day as the lamb was led to slaughter, as torture began of our beloved Savior, I am in awe of His Grace.

    I recommit my heart and soul to Jesus Christ, sinless son of our Heavenly Father who died for me…for all my ugly sins. I pray,…

    “Holy Father, 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.

    1. Exactly how I felt Selvie. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, question myself often. To think about his sacrifices he gave for me. He was wounded for our transgressions, by his stripes we are healed. Oh how he loves you and me.

  38. I love your song!And I regularly listen to your podcast… Have a holy wee dear Gwen Smith! God loves and I love you! Yes He will rise again,

  39. I have confessed my sins to God and renounced everything worldly and family to put God first so that nothing can come between us here until he calls me home.
    Thank you Gwen. It’s 1:26 am California and your Good Friday reflection was prayerful.
    Good night to all of God’s children.

  40. I need prayer for a brokenheart please. As I look at my beautiful children, do they not deserve both parents together?

  41. Thank you for reminding me of the amazing message of Easter. I feel like I’ve been going through the motions in my walk with God for a while now and today’s message has made me realize I need to recommit and start afresh, to let God really work in me and make a difference in how I live. Thank you. Happy, blessed Easter xx

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