Two thousand years ago a sinless man set his face toward Jerusalem. He heaved a cross on his shoulders and climbed a hill outside the city gates. He let seething men drill nails through his veins. He hung against the wood, bleeding, gasping, dying, forsaken. He bore the foaming ocean of God’s wrath so we wouldn’t have to.
His name was Jesus. And tomorrow is the day we mark his death.
Good Friday always disturbed me. Growing up, I wrestled with this question: If it’s true Jesus died—was mocked and whipped and stabbed and slain—why on earth call this day good?
What good is there in crucifixion? In rejection? In death?
It was only when I saw the filth of my sin that I saw any good in Jesus’ death. Only when I glimpsed God’s utter holiness—and my utter unholiness—did I see the cross as a gift. Good Friday will only be as good as my sin is bad. It will only be as glorious as my sin is grotesque.
Good Friday is only “good” to the sick, starving sinner.
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick… For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matt. 9:12, 13b).
In all its mocking and misery and murder, Good Friday was undeniably good. More than that, it was beautiful. A spotless lamb took our place on the altar. His blood is our freedom. His death is our life.
This is something to both celebrate and mediate upon. And it’s why I’ve compiled a playlist of songs for this Good Friday. Sure, it’s only one day. But it’s a day well worth stopping and savoring the goodness and beauty of the cross.
Without it, we would be hopelessly bound for hell.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split (Matt. 27:51).
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last (Mark 15:28).
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:46).
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (Jn. 19:30).