It was Friday morning. Huge crowds had gathered outside the governor’s palace in Jerusalem. Jesus was on trial. His crime? Well, that’s a long story.
Jesus was the long promised Messiah, God in human form. His birth was foretold by prophets centuries before his coming. When Jesus started his public life, the crowds loved him. His teachings were radical, he healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry and challenged corrupt systems. He used the harshest words for religious leaders and exposed their hypocrisy. The religious establishment perceived him as a threat and decided to do away with Jesus. They conspired with the Roman rulers to crucify him. Pilate, the Roman governor, though convinced that Jesus was innocent, finally gave into their demands.
What followed was a brutal execution completed in the most excruciating way possible.
In fact the word ‘excruciating’ literally means ‘out of the cross’.
Jesus was flogged with whips fitted with nails. He carried a wooden cross up a hill and there he was hung on it by three nails. A crown of thorns was thrust on his head. He cringed in pain and breathed his last. Then why is it called ‘Good’ Friday, you may ask. Here are three things that makes this tragedy, something worth celebrating:
Firstly when the sinless Jesus died on the cross, God provided the permanent solution for sin, the root of man’s problem.
Even at the peak of his popularity, Jesus always knew why he had come – to die; he was the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ death became a one-time sacrifice through which God could forgive our sins and re-establish the broken relationship with us.
Secondly through Jesus’ death, God provided us a way to regain our original identity.
When God created man, he made him in His image. But sin distorted that image and corrupted our identity, we became sinners. But God now invites us through Jesus to be part of his family as his children forever.
Thirdly, through Jesus, God shows us that he identifies with human suffering.
He is not someone far away unable to feel our hurts and pain. He has gone through it all and so can empathise with our pains.
Good Friday is the greatest example of God’s love. Jesus has died and paid the price. Now he is willing to forgive our sins and give us a new start. The Bible says “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” I pray that on this Good Friday you may accept his invitation and experience the joy that he offers.