Today, we observe Good Friday, the day in which Jesus died. The events of the day were anything but good back then, but they are good for all of us now. When I think I of what Christ did on that day, I cannot help but think of the first verse many people have memorized. John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV
Because God loved us, He gave us His only begotten son. In the Greek, gave means to give, to care for someone else’s interests. Simply put, this means that God gave Christ to us to care for us, to care for our interests.
What, exactly, does that mean? Paul told the Roman believers what the answer to that question is: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV) It was in the interest of our deliverance from sin that God gave such a gift. God demonstrated His own love toward us, and it had nothing to do with our love for Him but His love for us.
The verse says, “while we were still sinners.” While we were still living in sin, Christ died for us. This means that Christ died for us while we were still doing our own thing and living our own way. He died for us when we were thieves, liars, murderers, sinners. Sinners!!!
He died for us when we deserved it the least. He hung on the cross that we deserved to hang on. On one side, a thief was mocking Christ. “Save yourself and us if you are who you say you are.”
The other thief replied, “This man has done nothing. We are guilty but He is not.” Then he makes a request of Christ, “Remember me today when you are in paradise.” Jesus granted the penitent thief’s request. Why? Because this was the reason God gave us Jesus. To die for our sins and to secure for us eternal life.
What God gave to us was His son! Not wrapped as a pretty present but rather presented on a cruel cross. What God gave was a suffering servant who would endure more than any human ever endured.
Christ was betrayed by one of His disciples and was arrested and taken to an unfair trial. While there they beat Him. Literally, ripped the flesh from His back with the whip. They spit on Him, ripped the beard from His face and forced a crown of thorns on His head.
They then led Him to Golgotha’s Hill the place of the skull. Carrying His own cross until He can carry it no more. The flesh bared on His back and carrying the beam of the cross. Rough wood riding on open flesh. Jesus could barely go on.
The Romans picked one from the crowd who would carry the cross the rest of the way and they arrived at the place of the skull. Golgotha. Calvary.
They laid the cross on the ground and stripped Christ naked, then laying Him on the Cross. There they drove 7-inch spikes through His wrists and ankles. It was agony enough to have nails through your flesh, but then they lifted the cross up and the weight of His body was now supported on those spikes.
There He hung for hours as the crowd mocked him and accused Him, yet He looked out and said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” After many hours, Christ gave up His life. He cried out, “It is finished” and He breathed His last.
The Savior was now dead. He died for our sins. God’s gift of redemption. For God so loved the world that He gave. Indeed, it was a Good Friday.
Danny and his wife, Sonya, have been lead pastors at Rogers First Assembly in Rogers, Arkansas since 2008.