What’s so good about the Friday when Jesus sacrificed His life for us? Everything.
Around the world, this sacred day is known as Holy Friday, Mourning Friday, Silent Friday, High Friday, Sorrowful Friday, and especially, Good Friday, which some say began as God’s Friday. Yes, it certainly is. All His.
In Denmark, it’s called Long Friday — a fitting name for the brutal hours that stretched from sunrise to sunset, from His beating to His burial.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer… Isaiah 53:10
Of all the powerful verses in the Bible, this is the one that brings me to my knees. How much does God the Father love us? Enough to sacrifice His only Son.
I love you, dear sister, but I could never give up my only son, my only daughter, for your sake. I’m sure you feel just the same.
Yet “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (KJ21). Delighted Him, the original Hebrew tells us. God the Father “wanted to crush him and to make him suffer” (CEB), to “break him” (GNV) and “bring him to grief” (VOICE) for one reason: He loves us.
…and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,… Isaiah 53:10
This is why those six hours on the cross were worth every agonizing minute. Our staggering debt of sin— past, present, and still to come — was paid in full when Jesus put Himself “in sin’s dark place, in the pit of wrongdoing” (VOICE). Separated from His Father, He was forsaken. For our sake.
Then at last, the hallelujah, Easter morning, the true “Ta-da!”
“He has risen!” Luke 24:6
Because of His sacrifice on the first Good Friday, grace poured out like living water, bringing the gift of forgiveness to a hurting, dying, sin-filled world. To each of us. To all of us.
…he will see his offspring and prolong his days,… Isaiah 53:10
God promises that His Son will have “a multitude of children, many heirs” (TLB). That’s you and me and all who love Him and call Him Lord. Millions upon millions will live forever because Jesus offers “life, life, and more life” (MSG).
Even in the face of imminent betrayal, abandonment, torture, and death, Jesus told His disciples without hesitation, “After I have been raised from the dead…” (Matthew 26:32 NLT). There was no doubt in His mind, and there must be no doubt in ours. He died willingly at the hands of men, and He rose triumphantly at the hands of God.
…and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10
It’s a lifetime guarantee, written in the blood of the Lamb. Since Jesus “did everything the Lord had planned” (CEV), you can be sure “the Lord’s plans will come to fruition through him” (CEB). As Matthew Henry wrote, “He has vanquished principalities and powers, sin and Satan, death and hell, the world and the flesh.” Oh, what a Savior!
On Good Friday – make that every day – may you experience afresh the wonders of His mercy.
From the pages of The Women of Easter:
On their last night together in Jerusalem, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the separation to come and informing them where their paths would next cross, telling them, “I will go ahead of you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:32).
Imagine how they felt at hearing their Teacher was to be struck down, raised from the dead, and then transported north to Galilee, where He would meet them! Their emotions had to be reeling, especially in view of the prophecy about their deserting Him.
Peter, the rock on which Christ would build His church, said what all of us might say, wanting to sound brave, hoping to encourage Him. “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33).
The Lord knew better and set Peter straight. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” (Matthew 26:34). He didn’t mean Peter would deny His existence. Rather, he would deny their friendship. This is what matters to the Lord — our relationship with Him.
Peter wanted to believe that he would be faithful to the end. So do you and I and all who claim to know Him.
But then I remember a conversation I had with a businessman at the start of a long cross-country flight. After he regaled me with all his successes, punctuating his speech with vulgarities, he asked, “So what do you do?”
“I’m a writer,” I told him, hoping that would put an end to it. I was pretty sure this guy didn’t want to hear about Jesus and even more sure I didn’t want to broach the topic and risk a scathing attack.
“Oh yeah?” was his comeback. “What do you write?”
“Books for women,” I answered, certain that would shut him down.
“Really? What are they about?”
What are they about, Liz? “Faith,” I blurted out and then reached for the in-flight magazine, utterly ashamed of myself.
My responses were true. But all of them denied Jesus. Skirted around His name. Avoided His gospel truth. Because I was afraid the man might — what? Roll his eyes? Throw his drink in my face?
God forgave me, because He is good. And He has bolstered my courage, because He will not be denied. Now when a stranger asks what I do, I joyfully respond, “I love Jesus, and so I write books about Him.” It’s a conversation starter for sure.
Among the many books I’ve written about the Lord we love, The Women of Easter is an especially good fit for the Lenten season. Here are some free resources to enhance your reading:
Reading Plan for The Women of Easter
40 Days: A Lenten Journey on Facebook
40 Days of #WomenofEaster on Twitter
How to Use The Women of Easter as a Bible Study (includes a recommended video)
Mary of Bethany Pinterest Board
Mary of Nazareth Pinterest Board
Mary Magdalene Pinterest Board
If you need a copy or two to share with friends, order The Women of Easter today from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, CBD, LifeWay, and ChristianAudio. If you love fiction, check out my eBook exclusive, Mercy Like Sunlight. And I’m tickled to announce that 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart is a Finalist for both an ECPA Christian Book Award in Devotion & Gift and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award in Nonfiction: Women. So grateful.
Your sister, Liz