Why is Good Friday Good?
By Dr. D. Wayne Beeks | March 29, 2018
I asked a half dozen people the other day, “what is Good Friday, and why is it good?” After the shock wore from some of them, they responded with various answers ranging from “Its good because it’s the Friday before Easter” to “It’s the day Jesus died.” I followed up the last response asking, “so if Jesus died, why is that good?” I was finally to get him to eek out a “He died for our sins and then He was raised from the dead on Easter…”
Good Friday is the anniversary of the day Jesus Christ was brutally tortured, crucified, and murdered nearly two thousand years ago, and may have been referred to at one time as God’s Friday. How could the remembrance of such a brutal day be celebratory and prefaced by the word “Good”? Good Friday is a day on which we both remember and mourn the torture, the crucifixion, and the death of Jesus Christ. But this day is less a day of mourning, than it is a day for thankful remembrance and celebration.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ had been predicted in Old Testament bible prophecy thousands of years before. This horrific event was an event that had to occur for everything else that was promised to be. Through Jesus’s death and resurrection, there was the fulfilling of Old Testament bible prophecies. Failing to do so would create a serious problem; the Bible was not the inerrant word of God, but is filled with untruth and even worse, God had lied. A consideration that is completely false as God cannot lie by definition of who God is. God is absolute truth, incapable of lying, incapable of anything that is sin. The bible is the breathed Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), so the fulfilling of these prophecies had to come to pass or the whole notion of God’s existence and all that is promised would be in question, a lie.
Without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there could be no basis for Christianity, and Biblical prophecy could not have been fulfilled; there could be no promise of resurrection, forgiveness, salvation, eternal life; all core components to the existence of our Christian faith.
One such prophecy fulfillment can be found in Psalm 31:5, “Into your hand I commit my spirit: you have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus died, an account of which is found in Luke 23:46. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”
Another prophecy fulfilment is found in the book of Zechariah where it was prophesied that His body would be pierced with a spear, Zechariah 12:10. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” An account of the fulfillment of this prophecy is found in John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water.” , and in John 19:37, “And again another scripture says, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
Had Jesus not been crucified he could not have suffered on the cross for us and wiped away our sins, 1 Peter 2:21-25 “(21) For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: (22), Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (23), Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: (24), Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. (25), For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Had Jesus not died, there could be no resurrection and salvation for those that are saved as had been promised, Romans 8:11 ESV “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
There also could be no promise of eternal life for the saved believer as promised in John 3:16 ESV “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The preceding referenced examples are but a few examples of prophecy within the bible that were fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus willingly endured the pain, suffering and death by His crucifixion on Good Friday, knowing this would lead to His resurrection, to our salvation, and to the beginning of the reign of God’s power and righteousness. Because these things took place as God had promised, we can share the Gospel, the “Good News”, of the riches of God’s Grace, of His love, of His forgiveness and of His promise for salvation and eternal life for all who come to accept Him in faith as their Savior.
Romans 5:6-10 ESV “(6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (10) For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
When we look back through the events surrounding Good Friday and what was fulfilled leading up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a day known as Easter Sunday, we can truly see Good Friday is more fitting of celebration than of mourning; a good day indeed.