Today is Good Friday…and there’s some debate over why it is called by this name. This is the day in which we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, Who is called the “Christ,” or we might say, “Messiah.” There is some debate over the name of the day in terms of whether it was originally called “Good Friday,” or “God Friday,” or possibly something else. Years ago, when I first learned of this day and its name, I felt like it was cruelly or insensitively named…I thought that perhaps it may even have been disrespectful or flippant…but I was wrong…very wrong…or rather I guess I just didn’t understand the big picture and why we can truly call it a good day…as well as a God day…
In a previous post, I wrote about the grotesque nature of sin and the brutality it brings along with it (see http://stirringsofthesoul.com/the-most-wonderfully-terrible-day/). The main idea is that the scourging (beating) and crucifixion of Jesus was an incredibly bloody, painful, and heinous ordeal…and the reason that it was this was way is possibly due to the disgusting and destructive nature of sin. What also must be considered on this day is due to sin and its effects, humanity was indebted to a holy and just God…and we had no way to pay our debt. We all deserved to die and spend eternity separated from Him…but this did not do anything positive for an ongoing relationship between us and God…and God’s plan was for us to be with Him…and fully enjoy Him forever…bringing Him Glory…having eternal fellowship with Him. So if we died as a penalty for our sin, we would be separate from Him as a part of that penalty, thus having the opposite effect from His desired result. The only way for this situation to be rectified was if someone from the family of humanity who was innocent of sin gave their life on behalf of those guilty of sin. This was an impossibility for any of us to achieve, due to the fact that we inherit our sinful nature from our father, Adam, and we are not born with the potential for innocence…but only the potential for sin. God therefore incarnated Himself in the virgin birth, so that even though Jesus was totally human, He had no physical “earthly” father. He didn’t inherit our nature…He was innocent and remained that way…and had His eyes set on the mission for which He had come.
His mission has been misunderstood by many…but it’s very plain in Scripture. He didn’t come to teach us to be good. He didn’t come to teach us religion. He didn’t come to teach us that we needed to love one another. In part, He came to illustrate what those things look like and show us our inability to achieve any of them…but His purpose in coming was even greater than most of us stop to consider most of the time. He stated His reason for coming and it is recorded in Mark 10:45, “…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus came to die. He came to transfer His innocence to us, while He took upon Himself all…ALL…the guilt of mankind. He took the judgement that the entire world deserved (John 12:31)…in order that the entire world may be saved through Him (John 3:17). His mission was to die for you. He became that person deep down inside of you and I…you know the one…the one that only you really know about…the one that you wish you could do away with forever…the part of ourselves that we truly hate. He literally became that person (2 Cor 5:21)…that person that is deserving of nothing less than absolute separation and destruction…He took on that identity…and in so doing, He made us into His innocence. This means that due to the work He did…we are innocent in the eyes of a holy and just God.
In the last few moments of the crucifixion…just before He died…He said a word…He said a form of the word, “tetelestai.”(John 19:30, pronounced, ti-TELL’-is-sty) This word has been translated in our English Bibles as “It is finished.” It also can be rendered, “Paid in full.” There is some debate as to the exact meaning of this word in this context, but I have no problem with both renderings…in fact, I just about want them both in the Bible…”It is finished, and the debt is paid in full!” When someone purchased something from a merchant they would get a bill of sale…and that bill of sale would sometimes have this word on it…meaning that the bill or the debt was paid…the business was concluded…the transaction was complete, and the debt was paid.
There hangs Jesus…as one person said…”between the angels and the apes.” He hangs there between guilt and God…between heaven and hell…and He does so to be the payment-in-full to the One to Whom it is owed. Once all the business is completed…once the bill is settled…once the terms have been met…He says, “We’re good. It’s done.” It’s over…and because it’s over…we can now begin. Because of His death, we can have life.
Because of that day…your debt…my debt…our children’s debts…our parents’ debts…everyone’s debt…has been settled. This business is now concluded.
This day is one of the greatest ever to be commemorated…with the absolutely greatest day in history just around the corner…