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Good Friday

What is 'good'? Good is defined as [adjective] 1. to be desired or approved of, 2. having the qualities required for a particular role. [noun] 1. that which is morally right; righteousness, 2. benefit or advantage to someone or something.

When I was young, I didn't really comprehend the concept of a death being "good". I understood the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and why He had to die, but I couldn't wrap my head around the good aspect of "Good Friday". As I got older, read the scriptures, and matured in my faith, it made sense, and I understood why, in fact, it is called "Good Friday".

Let's look at the definition of good: "to be desired or approved of". So much weight in these words — to be desired or approved of — God desires to have a relationship with us. That is why we were created — to have fellowship with Him. Because of sin, there has been a chasm placed between man and God; a great divide that cannot be manipulated by our earthly deeds, or works. When the Law was given to Moses from God on Mount Sinai, it showed us how miserably we fail to keep the Law intact. But, the Law doesn't save; the Law only shows us where we are correct and where we are wrong; where we have failed. Our righteous deeds are covered in filth — "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." [Isaiah 64:6]

Enter a sin offering. The sin offering was used to atone for one's sin by the transferring of their sin to the object being used, or, a substitution. In Leviticus chapter 5, we see the requirements needed for a sin offering:

"When he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin. But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord as his compensation for the sin that he has committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering. He shall wring its head from its neck but shall not sever it completely, and he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. Then he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the rule. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take a handful of it as its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, on the Lord's food offerings; it is a sin offering. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in any one of these things, and he shall be forgiven. And the remainder shall be for the priest, as in the grain offering." [Leviticus 5:5-13]

But the blood of animals can not save. The ritual of a blood sacrifice can only cover sin. Mankind needed a redeemer. A perfect sacrifice. Enter Jesus.

The Bible is full of scripture that points to Jesus Christ, and why He needed to come to earth, live a sinless life and die a sinless man. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ — "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." [Galatians 4:4-7] Jesus was born to die, and then, live again.

Good Friday is the beginning of the end of that sacrifice. Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane after a night of agony — "And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." [Luke 22:44]. He was betrayed. He was scrutinized. He was brutalized. He was whipped so severely, His internal organs showed through His gaping wounds. A crown of thorns, twisted and cruel, was beat into His skull with the likeness of a baseball bat; the thorns piercing deep. He remained silent. He was forced to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem, on His way to Golgotha. When he couldn't carry it any longer, Simon of Cyrene was forced, by a Roman soldier, to carry it the rest of the way. The wood, stained with the blood of Jesus, was now on Simon.

On Calvary, the Place of the Skull, He was laid upon the cross; three spikes hammered through His skin, one for each wrist, while one was driven through the tops of His feet while splintering the harsh, hard wood beneath. The cross was lifted up, the bottom sinking into earth, the sheer weight of Christ strained on the spikes that bore through His skin and tendons, but the cold nails did not keep Him on that cross; Love did — "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”." [Galatians 3:13]

In the Old Testament, we see a type of Christ with the bronze serpent — "From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live." [Numbers 21:4-9]. All the Israelites had to do to be saved from the venom of the serpents was look upon the bronze serpent. As humans, the venom of sin courses through our veins. Our good deeds bring us death. Our works payment is death. The free gift of God is eternal life — "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Romans 6:23]

Jesus was sent to save us from our sin. He bore our sins. He bore my sins. He was sinless. He died. Jesus incarnate. "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. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." [Romans 5:6-11]

"He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed." [1 Peter 2:24]

"This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." [1 John 4:9-1]

Who killed Jesus? I did. He stretched out His arms, took my punishment, my sin, as His own; He felt the severity of God's judgment yelled out "Tetelestai" (which means "It is finished") and died.

The grave was weak. Death could not hold Him. Sunday is coming.

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