Why This is Called Good Friday

John 18:1—19:42
Isa 52:13—53:12 / Psa 31 / Heb 4:14-16;5:7-9

“It is finished.”
(John 19:30)

Good Friday, what does it really mean?
Simply that today we’ve been redeemed,
His precious blood shed for mankind’s sin,
Washed away our guilt and made us clean.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of His bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:25-42)

Reflection

Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day of the year when the whole of creation stops to mourn the horrible death of God on the cross. So why does the whole Christian world call this sad day “Good”? Is it because this day culminates the 40-day period of Lent? No, it is because this day commemorates the temporal suffering and death that the Source of all Life had to undergo in order to save us from eternal death. It is because God in His goodness has shown us this day the true meaning of love. Good Friday brings us to the peace and tranquility of mind that only the knowledge of being saved and loved can bring. Today is known as Good Friday because today good has triumphed over evil. Jesus Christ’s death did not mean defeat or failure, but the fulfillment of His words when he said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn.12:24) The death of that single grain in Calvary has resulted in billions of grains harvested for God’s kingdom.

Perhaps it can also be said that this is the day when God finally “made good” on His most important promise to mankind, the First Covenant that He made with Adam in the garden of Eden. This day commemorates the fulfillment of all the prophecies that we read in the Holy Bible. For instance, the prophet Isaiah in the first reading predicted: “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11). Our second reading also tells us, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Heb.5:8-9) Obedience unto death then was the example He showed us to follow, to deserve our salvation. Christ’s death was mankind’s victory, and God saw that it was good.

In the quiet of the morning, the whole world seems to have stopped to ponder and meditate on the significance of this day, which is the culmination of God’s Salvation Plan for mankind. Today, our Savior finally takes a deep rest after suffering and dying and accomplishing His divine mission on earth. He had saved His people. None of those who followed Him were lost, except the one who betrayed Him. And even his betrayal turned out for the good.

Let me see Your death on the cross, Lord Jesus as the triumph of Good against Evil. Lord, let me never be afraid to carry Your cross. Amen.

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