This is a sacred moment. The tears. The betrayal. The cross. The nails. The torn veil. The day Jesus died for us all.
Good Friday comes around every year as a solemn yet hopeful reminder of Jesus' work on the cross. If you're anything like us, it's painful to read, much less meditate on, but it's important nonetheless. We can look to this moment in history, while it is painful, we can see this as the beginning of our salvation, and that's something to rejoice over.
"He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth." ~ Isaiah 53:3-7
This prophetic passage from the book of Isaiah pretty much sums it all up. We appreciate this passage because there's so much to break down here.
To start with, He was despised and rejected by men. As triumphant as Jesus' entry into Jerusalem was prior that week, He knew in His heart that the same people would be cursing His name and hanging Him on a cross. Isn't that wild? However, He didn't let that change His ministry. No, not one bit.
Second, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Jesus was perfect. He never sinned, and yet He bore all of our sins, that we may have access to God and receive eternal life. A price had to be paid in order for us to be right with God, and Jesus fulfilled this massive undertaking.
He was pierced for our transgressions. He endured such intense pain and suffering on the cross for us. For you and for me. Let that sink in a moment. This is the perfect time to think on this in silence for a minute or two.
Through His wounds, we are healed. In this one stunning event, we have been made right with God. We certainly don't deserve it, but He so freely gave this gift to us. We were the ones that chanted horrible names at Him and betrayed Him, and He still cares for us.
"Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." ~ Luke 23:34
Like sheep, we too have gone astray. We're such fickle, fair-weathered followers, aren't we? At least, we hope to grow beyond this natural state. Think of all the people Jesus served in His ministry. Where were they when Jesus was put on trial? This is a solemn reminder for us to see where our allegiance truly lays.
Like Peter, we all have betrayed Jesus at some point in our faith journey. How can we learn from these passages of Scripture and come to be bold with our faith? No matter the circumstances, we will be right beside Him. That's our greatest hope.
Finally, He was like a lamb being sent to slaughter, but He didn't open His mouth. We can remember that sobering passage from Matthew 26 where Jesus knows He's about to be arrested and sent to the cross. In these final moments of freedom, Jesus is in agony.
He cries out to the Father and says, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
He knew what was to come and Jesus felt fear, like any man would. However, He proves how faithful and obedient He is when, after His plea for the suffering to pass, He asks God's will be done. This is remarkable.
We can look to this passage and assess our own obedience to God. What are we willing to give to God? Everything? Surely not! Well, that's what He demands of us. Like Jesus, we too are called to take up our cross daily and die to ourselves. It's no easy ask.
The Christian life is difficult. God never promised us a life of ease just because we believe in Him. We're guaranteed to suffer, but we have the assurance of His divine presence and eternal glory. That's something worth fighting for day after day after day. Not only that, through Jesus' death, we can now spend our eternal existence alongside the Father. This is an everlasting gift that deserves to be praised and recounted.
As we come to the end of this passage, and we look to go out into the world and spend the remainder of our Good Friday with our family and church members, we can let this truth sink in and have its way with us. Jesus has died but He will rise. Not only will He ascend to heaven, but He's coming back to earth to fulfill His promises.
There is a divine hope in all of this. Can't you feel it?
We hope this post encourages you and reminds you of how dearly loved you are. Jesus died for you. He knows everything you've ever done and has decided that yes, you are worth dying for. You are precious. Never forget that.
As we embark out into the world yet again for another day, we will be met with darkness and sin. We'll face negative people and hear of all the illness and war wreaking havoc on our planet. It's a difficult reality to bear, but again, we can take this news from Good Friday and know that Jesus' work on the cross can never be undone. He will be victorious over death. There is a new kingdom coming—one without pain, sorrow, sickness, and death. We must hold fast to this truth.