As a child, I was always confused by the fact that we call this day “Good Friday.” I never understood how we could call a day filled with such suffering and gruesome details “good.” I remember reading about the lead-tipped whip and the crown of thorns, remember hearing about the nails and the splinter-ridden cross, about the fact that only four out of Jesus’ many friends stayed by his side, about how the guards mocked and pierced him. I remember thinking, “this is anything but good.”
But as I got older, I saw it differently. I saw that in all of those things, Jesus defined goodness. His mind and heart set steadfastly on my freedom endured all of it. He never wavered in his intentions. Throughout the entire account, we see what his heart was doing.
John’s account of the crucifixion highlights one specific detail and it’s a detail that sums up the heart and actions of Jesus so well. In John 19:25-27, Jesus looks down from the cross and sees his mother standing near his friend, John. There, in the middle of his unimaginable suffering, Jesus thinks to make provision for her. He tells John, “this is your mother,” thus entrusting her to his care. Even in the middle of his pain, Jesus saw the needs of the people he loved and met them. Even in death he comforted the brokenhearted and placed the lonely in families.
And that is the heart of Jesus. That is the heart behind the cross. To display the goodness of God. To prove his provision. To shine a light on the selfless, reckless, unending love of Jesus. That he provided for us while suffering for us. That he met every one of our needs while his body hung broken and lifeless on that cross.
That is why today is good. Because his sacrifice made it so. The goodness of Jesus. It defies explanation and comprehension and it poured out of him. For us.
Today, our practice is to simply dwell on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Often we gloss over this part in an effort to rush to the resurrection. Let’s not do that. Allow the pain of the cross to affect your heart. Let that pain, reveal the depths of the goodness of Jesus.
Pray a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration for what Jesus did. Worship and honor him for his unspeakable goodness.
Pray that the depths of Jesus love would compel those that are far from him to follow him.