“…there they crucified him…”
Have you sometimes wondered where the term “Good Friday” came from? As we look at the event that is remembered by this term we might think that the day has been misnamed. Perhaps it should be called “Black Friday” or something else that is very negative.
The event we remember on this day called “Good Friday” utterly crushed the expectations of Jesus’ followers. The day caused their hopes to all lie in ruins. The future they saw with Jesus had been filled with thoughts of getting rid of the Roman occupational forces, the establishment of an independent Jewish nation once more, and exalted places for them in the kingdom Jesus would establish.
They were with Jesus in the boat in the midst of a life threatening storm when the Master spoke and the wind and waves were stilled. How astonished they were when one day He stopped a funeral procession, touched the dead body and the man was given life. Even the Lord’s most passionate enemies acknowledged that Jesus raised the dead (John 11:45-50).
So, when the Lord possessed such incredible power it seemed impossible that He might be taken prisoner and murdered. In Gethsemane, as He was being arrested, He told the frightened disciples that He had authority to call thousands of angels from heaven to destroy the arresting mob. But He did not do it.
Shock, horror, and confusion filled their troubled minds as they saw their Leader executed. This was without doubt the worst day in their lives. Nothing made sense any more to them. All their hopes were buried with Jesus in the tomb. It was not a “Good Friday” for them.
What then could be called “good” about the day Jesus died? Well, the origin of the term for the day of our Lord’s death is not known. It is possible that the term “good” really meant “holy”. This seems a likely reason for the day receiving such a name when the event commemorated was such a disaster to the disciples.
On the day the followers of Jesus mourned His loss, He had performed the deed that would result in eternal salvation for countless millions of people. The holiness of God was demonstrated at the cross because the sinless One took on Him the sins of His people. The Father struck His beloved Son and the redemption was accomplished for the sheep.
So the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (NIV) Yes, indeed that Friday was good or holy in the ultimate sense. See to it that on Good Friday you look to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” John 1:29. Then you shall see that your own sorrow will be turned to joy because of this Lamb of God. Isaiah 51:11; John 16:20