Each day from Palm Sunday until Easter, we’ll publish a short devotional to help prepare your heart for Resurrection Sunday. For each devotional, we recommend opening with a short prayer for illumination, reading the text for the day, spending a few moments meditating on it, reading the devotional, and then closing with a prayer.
Have you ever questioned the irony of calling the day Jesus was crucified “good”? Some believe the phrase was derived from the thought that the day was “holy”, and therefore “good”. Others speculate it came about from the phrase “God’s Friday” and through the years has morphed into “Good Friday”. No matter the origin, have you ever stopped to consider it for yourself? Can the events on that day really be described as “good”?
As you read through Mark 15:6-15, you see Jesus standing before Pilate, guilty of no crime. Yet the crowds are screaming for Him to be put to death. Pilate knew the crowd’s motives were impure. As the text says in verse 10, “For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over.” So rather than freeing a man who deserved freedom, Pilate acquiesced to the people’s request, had Jesus flogged, and gave Him over to be crucified. How can Jesus being beaten and sentenced to death be a “good” thing?
The text continues on by telling us of the mockery the soldiers made of Jesus after His gruesome flogging. In verses 16-20 it explains Jesus being further beaten, spit on, and forced to wear a purple robe and crown of thorns before they led Him out to be crucified. The imagery scripture paints is one of pure horror. And the question left lingering is: how is this supposed to be “good”?
The final ascent up to Golgotha (Place of the Skull) required the help of an innocent bystander because Jesus was exhausted from a sleepless night, severely wounded by his multiple beatings, and physically unable to carry the cross He was to be crucified on. In verse 23 they tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh to deaden the pain, yet Jesus did not take it. And in a sharp statement, in verse 24 we read: “Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get.” As Jesus hangs there on the cross; innocently dying a slow and painful death, the question still unanswered is how this to be celebrated as “good”.
In verse 37 “Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last.” And just like that, Jesus died. How is this good? How are we as Christians to celebrate such a horrible and undeserved death as “good”?
With that question comes the truth we all so desperately need to hear and accept. Jesus endured such a horrific fate so that we may be able to enter into the presence of God. Verse 38 tells us “Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much significance to this statement, but dear reader this is the point of it all! The massive curtain in the temple represented the separation between God and man, and when Jesus died on that cross, the temple veil tore straight through, top to bottom, symbolizing that we no longer have to be separated from God (see Exodus 26:31-33; 40:20,21; Leviticus 16:2, and Hebrews 9:3)! When Jesus took that final breath, He made THE way for us to have a personal relationship with God the Father.
As we prepare our hearts for Easter, do you see that “Good Friday” really is in fact “good”? Dear reader, I hope your answer is 1,000 times yes. And I urge you to stay tuned for the next two days… because it’s going to get even better than “good”.
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, what is holding you back?
What thoughts and emotions do you experience while you read this portion of scripture?
Reflect on all Jesus endured on your behalf. Praise Him and thank Him today for giving you a way to know God personally.
Written by Kym Campbell