What’s So Good About Good Friday?

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Good Friday is the annual holiday celebrated by Christians which precedes Resurrection Sunday — commonly called Easter Sunday. It is the day Jesus died on the cross. Jesus, who is God (John 1:1) and the Savior of the world, also called the Word of God (John 1:14), became flesh and lived among His creation. Jesus had amassed a great following during his time on Earth, but his closest followers, with the exception of Judas who betrayed him, were his disciples.

Until the time had come to pass, Jesus’ disciples did not fully understand what was to take place. On Thursday preceding Good Friday, Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper, which He would hold with his twelve disciples as the “Last Supper.” “Do this,” Jesus said, “in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19). It was during this time that Jesus announced the betrayal of one of his disciples, which was Judas.

Good Friday, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss and turns him over to the chief priests and the elders of the people (Matthew 26:47-56) who then took him to be tried before Annas and Caiaphas, the chief priest where it was decided that Jesus would be handed over to the Roman government for the crime of blasphemy. It was Jesus’ own people who turned against Him.

Jesus would then stand before Pontius Pilate who sent Him over to King Herod where he would be mockingly dressed in splendid clothing (Luke 23:11) and sent back to Pilate to be sentenced to His crucifixion. Pilate would bargain with the crowds of Jews for the release of Barabbas, a notorious prisoner, in exchange for the sentencing of Jesus.

When Jesus was sentenced, He would then be forced to carry His own cross to Golgotha, where he would be raised up on the cross to be beaten and mocked for hours — until his last breath where he proclaimed “it is finished.”

So if the Savior of the world had to endure this, what makes Good Friday so good?

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

Imputed righteousness and penal substitution — that’s what makes Good Friday so good.

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The doctrine of imputed righteousness is one of the most important doctrines in Christianity — it is what sets Protestants apart from other religions, such as Roman Catholicism. Imputed Righteousness is the doctrine that the righteousness of Jesus, who lived a perfectly sinless life, is given to those who would believe in Him.

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…

Romans 8:3-4

But in order for Jesus’ righteousness to be imputed to us, our sins had to be imputed to Him. And this is where the other important doctrine of penal substitution comes in. Jesus, who knew no sin, would bear our sins on the cross where God would then pour out all of His judgment — His hatred and wrath — on His only Son, Jesus.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

A dark day in the history of Christianity — a day that would literally see a three-hour darkness over the land — would be a glorious day for those whom Jesus came to save. It was the day of the great exchange. The death of Jesus for the life of His people. The day that His people would be exonerated of their guilt of sin and in a legal exchange, God would declare His people righteous before Him.

This would be the day that Jesus would declare victory over sin and death.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:28-30


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