We’ve heard it said that Good Friday is called ‘good’ because of Easter Morning, but that’s not really the reason for its name.
The events of that Friday were more terrible than words can describe. After an endless night of mock trials, with beatings and merciless scourging, “His visage was so marred, more than any man,” that “many were astonished.” (Isa 52:14) The suffering that Jesus endured was so severe that even Heaven’s angels and God the Father looked away.
In fact, no other moment at Calvary was so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air -”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At that moment physical pain was united with a spiritual agony surpassing all expression. No man or woman can enter into the full meaning of those words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” There are times when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and sorrow, yet we remember that God never does really forsake us. But in Christ’s case, it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from his Son – when even the sun refused to give its light, who can calculate how deep was the agony that it caused him?
Yet our Lord’s terror was not tragic. His terrible pain was not pointless. He endured the cross, despising its shame “for the joy set before Him.” (Heb 12:2). What joy could be worth such suffering?
It was in Christ’s sacrifice that all of Creation received a second chance. In His atoning death, Jesus became the “author and perfecter of our faith.” In His agony, untold millions found the fountainhead of joy. By that one defining act all of eternity was forever changed.
As terrible as that day was, it was nonetheless good. It was the day that accomplished the redemption of mankind, the end of sin’s terrible power, and the defeat of death!
Easter was the joyous fruit of Calvary.
Jesus rose victoriously because His victory was won on the cross. It is because of that victory that we now find free entrance into the Holy of Holies and are forever welcomed into the eternal home that awaits us. We find rest now in His everlasting arms and are comforted beneath His sheltering wings. No tongue can ever bid us depart from His glorious Heaven for as long as He reigns – and of His kingdom, there shall be no end!
It was indeed a very good Friday. A terrible, horrible, unbelievable, and incredibly victorious day. The day of eternity’s greatest sorrow… and its greatest joy.
Have a Blessed Easter!
Inspired by: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, April 15