On this day, we make a deliberate choice to remember something heinous, unfair, unjust, graphic and deadly...as "Good"!
Jesus' death on the cross that day was terrible. He'd been railroaded in an unfair trial, he'd been handed over to Gentiles by the Jewish leaders (who wouldn't do anything in cooperation with Gentile rulers--till this), and he'd been beaten, spat upon, whipped, ridiculed, and now, had been nailed to a cross.
The cross--an emblem of suffering and shame, a symbol of Roman power over people, a brutal instrument usually reserved for hardened criminals.
Yet, there was Jesus...Prince of Peace, Healer, Deliverer from Demons, Miracle Worker, Teacher...hanging on it.
A terrible, dark day.
He hung there for 3 hours, gasping for breath, feeling the sharp pain of nails in his feet and hands, along with the wounds that had been inflicted upon Him earlier.
A "Good" day? Hardly!
Yet...there were these words he uttered while hanging there, suffering...
"And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).(Mark 15:34)
Actually, this was a reference to Psalm 22, which David wrote when he was feeling separated from God. That Psalm shouts in triumph that, no matter how David felt, he knew that God was there, and was at work, and would accomplish His eternal plan.
Jesus was reminding the people watching of the same thing: God WAS at work, and He WOULD accomplish His eternal plan!
As He hung there, Jesus was not 'defeated'. This was WHY HE CAME!
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." (John 10:17-18)
He knew that He had come to give up His life...to pay the debt that we owed, but could not pay.
He came to pay for our sins...and that's precisely what He was doing on that cross.
The Jewish leaders, the Romans...and Satan...all thought they had defeated Him, but they hadn't...
"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit." (Matthew 27:50)
When He had suffered and taken all those sins upon Himself, He cried out in a loud voice.
What did He cry?
"It is finished." (John 19:30)
Not a sigh of resignation, not a declaration of defeat...this was a cry of VICTORY!
This was exactly what He came to do!
He had Paid for the sins of the world!
He had made forgiveness of sins possible for all who would call on Him in faith!
He had paved the way for the growing, vibrant relationship with God that we can experience!
It was FINISHED! It was ACCOMPLISHED!
He had WON!
Now, you and I can call that Friday..."Good"!
We can add nothing to it, we can subtract nothing from it. His willing sacrifice of Himself--on our behalf that day--DID IT!
It is FINISHED!