The Holiest of Holidays
All holidays have purpose and value. But not all holidays are created equal. Some are not only holidays, some are holy-days. Easter and Christmas are certainly two significant holy-days. But the holiest of holy-days is rarely esteemed—Good Friday.
Our culture pays little attention to this holy-day. And if we take our cues and our values from it, Good Friday will most likely come and go with little or no fanfare. But let’s not overlook the mystery and wonder of this holiest of days this year!
I don’t believe it would be an overstatement to propose that the overarching message of the Bible is more profoundly illustrated on Good Friday than on any other day in human history! This is not to take away from Christmas or Easter, but rather to see how these holy-days find their ultimate explanation in Good Friday.
I would also suggest that there is no topic known to us more poignant nor profound than Soteriology—the study of God’s gracious gift of salvation from our sin, and how Jesus Christ purchased it for us. The Bible teaches this gracious gift will be the incomparable, inexplicable, and inexhaustible focal point of every man, woman, boy and girl who will spend the coming ages in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus!
Accordingly, the mystery of the Son of God’s death on a cross, should be the most fascinating and compelling topic for our consideration in our earthly realm as well! After all, there is only one Person in history who was so significant that our ancestors devised our calendar around His brief earthly pilgrimage. And there is no other event in history so disturbing—and yet so encouraging, as Christ’s untimely and unjust death on a cross.
But don’t be mistaken. Jesus didn’t die because Judas betrayed Him. Jesus wasn’t condemned because the Jewish leaders lied about Him. Jesus wasn’t sentenced to death because Pilate was a coward. Jesus wasn’t killed by Roman soldiers. Jesus didn’t die because He was powerless to save Himself.
It was our sin—and God’s justice, that put Jesus on that cross to die…
The Bible makes it clear that there is no one righteous before God, for all of us have sinned and fallen short of our Creator’s expectation for us. God’s Word also makes it plain: the wages of our sin is death. Physical death, yes. But far worse, spiritual death as well. We understand that physical death occurs when our spirit is separated from our bodies. Spiritual death, the second death, is when our spirit is separated from its Creator—forever. The consequence of our sin against our Creator is both physical and spiritual death.
Because God is just, someone had to pay the consequences of our sin. Even though Jesus had never committed any sin (thoughts, words or deeds) He bore our sins, and He took our punishment for them. He died because of us. He died for us. He died in place of us. But there’s much more.
It was our sin—and God’s love, that put Jesus on that cross to die…
The Bible makes it equally clear that God the Father so loved us, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe on Him would not have to die, but would have eternal life instead. God’s Word also tells us that His Son Jesus so loved us, that He willingly laid down His life for us.
So on Good Friday, two thousand years ago, God’s grace was gloriously provided by Jesus’ death on a cross! He who was rich became poor so that we through His poverty might become rich! He who had no experience with sin became sin for us so that through Him we might gain the sinlessness of God!
God’s justice was perfectly satisfied on Good Friday. God’s love was perfectly demonstrated on Good Friday. God’s grace is freely offered to you because of Good Friday! That is the Good News of Good Friday! And because Jesus conquered death on Resurrection Day, if you will have faith in God’s grace, you too will be resurrected one day to marvel at the magnitude of His grace forever! No wonder the holiest of holy-days has come to be known as Good Friday!