Good Friday has always been difficult to navigate. Easter is much easier. I know how to feel on Easter. I know what to say on Easter. Good Friday, on the other hand, is awkward. How do you greet people on Good Friday? “Happy Good Friday?” That doesn’t sound right. When you think about it, Good Friday doesn’t seem very “good” at all.
Good Friday is celebrated as a holiday in many parts of the world. The term “good” comes from the now obsolete sense of the word good, “pious” or “holy.” Since the dawn of Christianity, this day has been “set apart” (i.e., made holy) in solemn honor of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. What would Jesus have us remember on this day?
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
I can think of no better way to answer that question than to reflect carefully on Jesus’ own words on this day. Even in his agony, Jesus leads us deeper into the mind and heart of God.
Jesus hung on the cross for six hours. He said three things in the first three hours. These statements were about his relationship with us.
After three hours, darkness covered the land.
Jesus spent the next three hours in complete silence. This was the crucifixion within the crucifixion.
The weight of the sins of the world was almost unbearable. Jesus was clinging to the Father with all his might. We know this because the words that break the silence are the words of an intimate song to the heavenly Father (Psalm 22).
The next four things Jesus said were all about his relationship with the Father. He was as close to the Father as he had ever been. Suffering has a way of doing that to us.
The Words from the Cross
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).
Listen to the voice of Jesus from the cross …
1.“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
We start by forgiving those who have hurt us.
2. “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus promised us that, if we trust him, he will lead us into eternal life.
3. “Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.”
Jesus is always caring for us, always thinking of us, always putting us above himself.
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus lived his life on the promises of God’s Word (He was quoting the opening lines of Psalm 22).
5. “I thirst.”
Jesus wasn’t quite finished with his battle against sin. Sometimes you just need to hold on a little longer. The pain is almost over. For now, just keep breathing and doing what you need to do to stay alive.
6. “It is finished.”
Jesus knew that he had won. He beat sin on the cross. Finally, his earthly work was done.
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Jesus knew that he had come from the Father and that he was returning to the Father. He was crystal clear about his eternal destination.
Jesus died at 3 pm. They rushed to place his body in a borrowed tomb – a cave just outside of Jerusalem.
As night approached Jesus was fighting a different kind of battle in another world.
Reflection: Jesus takes his relationship with you very seriously. He sacrificed everything to be in a relationship with you. What are you bringing to the relationship? How much are you investing in the gift Jesus has given you?