It’s Good Friday. One of the most revered holidays of the Christian calendar. It is on this day, the night of the Jewish Passover, that Jesus Christ, who was completely innocent, was betrayed by someone He loved, handed over to the Roman authorities, charged, sentenced to death, and crucified. Why did He do this? What did Jesus hope to gain? What was the result of His actions?
We read in Matthew 27:39-44 how people insulted Jesus while hanging on the Roman cross. They mocked Him. They couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand what He was doing. They said things like, “If you’re the Son of God, save yourself” and “He said He would tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days, yet He can’t save himself from the cross.” The fact of the matter is people assumed that Jesus was just like them. They thought He was just as self-centered as they were, or we are. People couldn’t understand why He wouldn’t be thinking of himself, when all He was thinking about was all of mankind.
Jesus knew that the only way to redeem all of mankind for all eternity is for the perfect sinless man, Himself, to be sacrificed. He knew that this was the reason He came to earth from Heaven with God. He knew that with this one ultimately selfless act He would erase all of mankind’s sin once and for all for eternity. This is why He did not save himself from the cross. This is why He took pity on the assembled crowd and said, as recorded in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
You see, friend, it is Jesus’ selflessness that kept Him from saving Himself. It is His selflessness that made Him endure the cruelty and humiliation of the crucifixion and death on that cross. It is His selflessness that allowed Him to be subject to mankind’s cruelty and experience the weight of the sin of all of mankind heaped on Him at once.
Why do we call this Good Friday? If you owed your life, and someone came along and gave theirs up so you didn’t have to, wouldn’t you say that it was good?
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