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Why Good Friday’s So Good

Today is Good Friday, and today is indeed good. Today is the day we celebrate our Savior’s death. Some may ask: How is death good? Moreover, how can you call such a gruesome death as a Roman crucifixion good? Because it is this death that redeems us.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from t he wrath of God.” Romans 5:6-9

Dr. Russell Moore’s recent post explains in full detail why this shedding of Christ’s blood to atone–satisfy God’s wrath–for our sins is so necessary, and why it must be at the forefront of all preaching and Christian thought. Indeed, Romans 5:9 says “we are justified by [Christ’s] blood.” And that blood was shed on a Friday–a truly Good Friday–on a Roman cross in Jerusalem.  Specifically, Christ’s time on the cross spanned three hours, from noon to 3 P.M.

“Now from the sixth hour [noon] there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour [3 P.M.]. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eli, eli, lema sabachtani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, ‘This man is calling Elijah.’ And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yileded 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. … When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!'” Matthew 27:45-51, 54

This passage reveals that Christ definitively took our place before the wrath of God. He cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” On the Cross, Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and in that sense, God did forsake His own Son, for God cannot look upon sin and leave it unpunished (Habakkuk 1:13). So Jesus became sin for us and bore the wrath that we rightly deserved.

On the cross, Jesus died and killed the sin that separated us from God; “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” From top to bottom, from heaven to earth. God accomplished our redemption on the cross–we had no part in that except the sins from which we need redeeming. Indeed, Jesus’ death did justify us before God, for in John 19:30 Jesus cries in triumph, “It is finished!”

Praise God that Jesus’ death was not in vain but did, in fact, justify us and reconcile us to God! Notice the vivid language of Hebrews 10:11-14.

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which  can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Praise God for the perfection of Christ’s atonement on the cross! Praise God that his “single offering … has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified!” Such glory, such grace!

So at noon today, when you are breaking bread, think of the One who was broken for you, fellow believer. This afternoon, as you get off school or get off work or even keep working, think of Christ, who “sat down at the right hand of God” upon the completion of His perfect sacrifice.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”

And the gospel doesn’t end there, as wonderful as Jesus’ sacrifice is! Check back Sunday for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection 2000 years ago! (Romans 5:10)

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