As a little girl, when I came to understand the real meaning and purpose of Easter, I didn’t understand how Good Friday could be called “good” Friday. In my young mind, I thought it was a terrible day. It was the day Jesus was arrested, brutally beaten, and put to death on a cross like a criminal. It just didn’t make sense to me to call it Good Friday.
After all, Friday was a very long, grueling, humiliating, and agonizingly painful day for Jesus, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, culminating at the cross. Crucifixion was the most excruciating execution ever devised. Jesus knew the prophecy of Isaiah 52:14, “His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind” (ESV). He also knew the prophecy of Isaiah 53, a must-read for all Christ-followers, written over 700 years before Christ’s birth.
He retreated with three of his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane the night before to spend time in prayer with His Father in preparation for the next day. Luke 22:44 records, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (ESV). He was experiencing great stress. In Matthew 26:38a and Mark 14:34a, Jesus told the three disciples with Him, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (ESV).
Further down in Matthew 26:39 Jesus, being fully man and fully God, in a moment of struggling in His humanity, became overwhelmed with human emotion praying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (ESV). Jesus made the same appeal to His Father a second time and even a third time, as recorded in Matthew 26:42,44, about the possibility of another way to accomplish His will. Jesus wasn’t trying to abandon His mission, but in His human agony and suffering, He wondered if there was any other way besides what had been foretold.
The God-Man was understandably dreading the day, as evidenced by His sorrow and suffering in the garden. Jesus experienced every emotion of man and experienced the stinging, searing pain of every piece of bone and metal that stripped away his flogged flesh, and then the final pain and agony of being nailed to a cross hanging and suffering for hours feeling totally alone and forsaken by God (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). Then He died. He was one of us … yet God incarnate.
Then came the “good” of Good Friday, which was revealed when the women who went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Angels were there to announce to them that He had risen from the dead just as He said he would! Luke 24:1-12.
That little girl I remember continued on her journey of faith and came to fully understand the necessity, the love, and the eternal life-changing good of Good Friday! Jesus didn’t just die for you and me; He died instead of you and me! The sin that separated us from God our Father was forgiven forever by what happened at the cross! My Redeemer! My Savior and my Lord!
Celebrate Easter, my friends! Rejoice and be glad!
Mary Bass Gray is the Spiritual Advisor for Humble Faith Ministries. She is a wife, mother of three sons, mother-in-love, Nonnie to eight grands, and Daughter of the King. She resides in the High Country of North Carolina with her husband and lab/beagle baby, Sully. She enjoys looking out of her window every morning and being surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation and the majesty of His mountains.