On Good Friday, (or in German “Sorrowful Friday”), we marvel and agonize as we focus on Christ’s death on the cross. Human words and thought are inadequate to describe what happened the day they crucified Jesus of Nazareth. Cosmic changes took place in heaven and earth. His ultimate sacrifice was centuries in the making.
Highlighted below are five truths from Scripture that support the gravity and the significance of Jesus’ work on the cross for us.
1) Jesus knew he would bear humiliation and great suffering.
“And taking the twelve again, he (Jesus) began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise” (Mark 10:32b-34).
2) Jesus offered his life willingly.
“… I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10: 17b-18).
3) Jesus felt anguish and grief, expecting the suffering of the cross.
“And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:33-36).
4) Jesus endured separation from His Father due to carrying the sin of humanity.
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
5) Paul tells us in Romans that we don’t deserve Jesus’ sacrifice and there was no way to repay it or even appreciate the cost of the gift.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:6-10).
As we meditate on God’s great and costly love, Isaac Watts’s hymn rings true:
“My God, why would You shed Your blood
So pure and undefiled
To make a sinful one like me
Your chosen, precious child?
Thus, might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
And melt my eyes to tears.” (Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed)
Lord, break our hearts in sorrow for the cost you paid for our sin; melt our pride as we experience your humility; fill our mouths with praise and thanksgiving at receiving your lavish gift of mercy. Amen.
By Laurie Besonen, Executive Director, Village Schools of the Bible