If you plan on being in Oklahoma City on Friday, April 18, I want to invite you to join us for our traditional “Good Friday” service at 6:30 p.m. in our auditorium. I would also encourage you to invite friends and family members who may not know Jesus and his saving love. This will be a wonderful time for them to hear a short and pointed presentation of the gospel.
So, why do we speak of the Friday when Jesus was brutalized and crucified as good? It would almost seem as if there could hardly be a day that is worse! In one sense, you are correct. Jesus was unjustly tried, lied about, scourged, and sadistically crucified.
But in a far more ultimate sense this was immeasurably good. It was good for two reasons.
First, the crucifixion of Jesus, as horrible and unjust as it was, fulfilled God’s plan. Peter declared this in Acts 4:27-28 by reminding us that, in crucifying Jesus, “Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel” were doing “whatever your hand [God’s hand!] and your plan [God’s plan!] had predestined to take place.” This was no accident of history but the eternally predestined purpose of God.
The second reason that such a horrible incident can be regarded as “good” is because by means of this event, and only by this event, are we able to be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God. Peter tells us that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Notice three things that make the gospel the very best news there is.
First, when Jesus suffered, he suffered for our “sins.” Christ died because of or for our “sins” in the capacity of one who took the penalty for them upon himself. It is only because Jesus has died for our sins that we don’t have to.
Second, when Jesus suffered for our sins he suffered only “once” and for all time. There is no need for him to suffer again or for another sacrifice to be made. His once-for-all time atonement was perfect and sufficient.
Third, when Jesus suffered for sins, it was as a righteous person dying in the place of unrighteous people like you and me. Although he suffered for sins, they were not his own! He is the only person who has lived and died who didn’t suffer for his own sins. The death of Jesus will mean nothing to you unless you affirm both halves of this statement. You must know that you are “unrighteous” and that he is “righteous.”
Fourth and finally, Jesus suffered for our sins to “bring us to God.” That is the greatest of the good news, that because Jesus died for us, we get God!
Come on Friday the 18th and celebrate with us this glorious good news of Good Friday!