Good Friday Is Good Indeed
By Zara D. Garcia / @ZaraAlexis
While the worldly tradition has commercialized Easter to represent confectionary in the shape of a bunny and the fun, children’s activity of hunting for pastel-coloured eggs during nothing more than a long weekend — Good Friday commemorates what is at the center of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on the cross.
It is the act in which the Son of God, Himself, is first judged and then mocked by the very people who He wishes to save:
Jesus Is Mocked
27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. – Matthew 27: 27-31 (The Holy Bible, NASB).
And then the Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ, is crucified.
When in fact, as God, Himself, He could have at any time resisted and saved Himself from such mortal suffering and death. Instead, in His perfect obedience to God, the Father, He humbled Himself and accepted His Father’s will for His life to be used as a sacrifice and offering in answer to God’s wrath on the sins of all humankind:
33And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. 35And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”
38At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying,
42“He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43“He trusts in God; Let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
44The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.
45Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” 47And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:33-54 (The Holy Bible, NASB).
It is with unfortunate, recent events that I was unexpectedly sent to hospital in emergency due to severe, undiagnosed migraines, persistent nausea and vomiting, which led to three emergency hospital visits in five days, a CT scan, a spinal tap, and two spinal blood patches — surgical procedures in which one failed due to the inability to find veins that would support enough of my blood output required for the surgery’s success. So, not only did I have to endure one stressful surgery, I had to repeat the very same one under duress.
During one of the surgeries, I was poked by needles in my arms, my hands, my wrists, and my feet in a desperate act to find enough of my own blood to support the spinal blood patch that was occurring on me simultaneously. At the same time, I was fully awake, aware of the procedure, the doctors’ stressful panic, the sight of my own blood, the urgency in which my blood was needed, and also asked to keep absolutely still because one move or error on my part or the doctors’, could have caused nerve damage and a number of other complications in my spine and in my back.
My thoughts at the time in seeing all of my blood drip down my arms, my wrists, my hands, and my feet, while battling migraines, nausea, stress, physical pain in my back and other body parts as I was poked with needles, and trying to actively and consciously keep absolutely still in fear of having another failed surgery was:
This IS suffering. Was this how Jesus suffered? Please God…please God…save me!
And in my suffering—in that absolute dark and desperate, unyielding moment of pain and fear—who was it that I was left to turn to?
My husband couldn’t save me. He was in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for the unknown outcome.
The doctors couldn’t give me a guarantee on the health and safety of my spine or my back.
My children were with my parents while I was in hospital, oblivious to my suffering.
And no amount of money or worldly power could buy away my pain.
It was God who comforted me in my fear, pain, and isolation.
In my mind, Jesus had suffered so much more on my behalf when He was crucified on the cross. And while I did not willingly endure suffering, but instead begged for help and ease, Jesus willingly gave Himself up to worldly authorities and the very people He meant to save to those who would mock Him, torture Him, and eventually crucify Him—because of His love not only for us as a flawed people, but because of His perfect love and obedience to God, the Father.
That is sacrifice.
And it’s this very sacrifice that Christians commemorate today on Good Friday.
And it’s Jesus Christ, whom we honour as our Saviour because of this very act.
I have nothing against bunnies, nor chocolate. I’m even for fun treasure hunts. But, as a Christian, Good Friday and Easter is much more than that. It is the commemoration of the act of complete humility, obedience, and sacrifice by God on our behalf. This is at the center of our Christian faith: the cross. It is more than a trinket to wear around our necks or hang across our car mirrors or dashboards. It is the symbol in which Jesus Christ was made to suffer and die in His holy perfection, for our sins so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life.
Good Friday is good indeed, for it is on this day that we remember and honour Jesus for His selfless love towards us and His ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.
If a Christian, let us remember this gift in an all we do today (and forever); and in reverent prayer and in thanksgiving—and let us not forget the holiness of our Lord and the depth and passion in which He loves us.
And then three days later, on Easter morning, we can, together, rejoice in honouring Jesus Christ and remembering His holy resurrection!
It’s surely a gift worth being grateful for. (Grateful enough to also be able to enjoy the pleasure of confectionary bunnies and children’s egg hunts.)
May your Easter be a blessed one!
If a Christian, where are you now in your walk and relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ?
Why not spend some quiet time in prayer and thankfulness today for the gift we have received through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?