Why It Was a ‘Good’ Friday

“As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council.” (Luke 22:66)

The origin of “Good Friday” ceremonies are somewhat muddled in history. Some suggest that the earlier roots go back as far as 100 A.D., but others insist that it was well into the fourth century before anything like the “passion week” observances became established.

Beyond that, there is a good bit of controversy about the title itself. Everyone now agrees that the focus of the dedication is on the crucifixion of our Lord. So, why “Good” Friday? Why not “Sad” Friday, or “Awful” Friday? Although historians and theologians tend to focus on the etymology of the term and debate the circumstances by which the ceremony became identified, the truth may well lie in the sovereignty of God Himself.

On that day in history, the sins of the world were paid for! This was the day on which “it pleased the Lord to…make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10). That day, the Lord “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

Yes, there was great sorrow and travail that day. During the awful physical darkness from noon to 3:00 p.m. (Matthew 27:45), Jesus had cried out in utter anguish: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The earth itself shook and rumbled as the creation was torn asunder in reaction to the horrific judgment of the Creator for sin (Matthew 27:51).

But then came the victory cry, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), and, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). His suffering ended, the payment completed, eternal propitiation accomplished, Jesus laid down His human life to await the great resurrection that God might give “assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

by Henry Morris III, D.Min

Good Friday: Loneliness Endured for Us

Matthew 27:26-50

It was 20 years ago that I enjoyed the privilege of portraying Jesus in the film The Gospel of Matthew. The experience was life-changing as I came to understand the Lord in ways I’d never imagined. I discovered His joy, His heartbreak, and the fire of His passion. I also discovered how remarkably alone Jesus was when He walked the earth.

After all, who could possibly understand a man whose thoughts and ways were so astoundingly removed from those of any other person? Even His closest companions never “got it” until after He’d ascended to His Father. How alone does that leave a man—especially that Golgotha day?

When we filmed the crucifixion scenes of Matthew, I arrived on the set after a three-hour make-up job that was so authentic none of the film crew could bear to look at me. I recall thinking of that scripture, “He was . . . like one from whom men hide their face” (Isa. 53:3), and realizing it was very real.

Then the filming began and the brutality was remarkable. We were just “faking it,” and the awfulness was indescribable. I remember hanging there and seeing the faces all around me, just staring. A little girl from the local village where we were filming just cried and cried. They all would have loved to help me somehow. But it was something I had to go through alone.

I thought of Jesus looking out and seeing His mother, John, and others. As much as they loved Him, there was no way they could understand His motivations that day. As much as they’d have loved to somehow help Him, it was something He had to do—alone.

Then came the moment of alone beyond alone. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). And you and I could be born again.

Today is a day to shed all our wanting and live as the Lord desires: thankful. We have the privilege of understanding Him as those who walked by His side never could, and our response can be nothing other than to fall on our faces in profound gratitude. Glory to Jesus!

by Bruce Marchiano

Gambling at Calvary

“They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psalm 22:18)

The 22nd Psalm is justly famous as a remarkable prophetic preview of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus on the cross, written by David approximately 1,000 years before it was fulfilled. It describes in accurate detail the sufferings of the Lord and the actions of the sneering spectators as they watched Him die.

One of the most heartless acts of the Roman soldiers carrying out the crucifixion was the indignity of stripping Him of the garments He was wearing and then dividing them among themselves, even gambling to determine who would get His seamless vesture. The significance of this cruel scene is indicated by the fact that it is one of the very few specific events in the life of Christ recorded in all four Gospels.

We must not forget that the Lord Jesus Christ once had been arrayed, as it were, in beautiful garments that “smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces” (Psalm 45:8). But He who was “equal with God” chose to be “made in the likeness of men” that He might eventually suffer “even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8) in order to save our unworthy souls. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

He who had created the heavens, when He came to Earth, had to say that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). And His few remaining possessions were scavenged by His executioners as He died. Yet through His great sacrifice, He has provided “everlasting habitations” for us (Luke 16:9) and “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Indeed, we do know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! HMM

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.—Psalm 43:5.

IN prayer we own Thee, Father, at our side,
Not always feel or taste Thee; and, ‘t is well,
So, hour-by-hour, courageous faith is tried,
So, gladlier will the morn all mists dispel.

SOMETIMES we are disturbed because we have no devout feelings; but what we want is a devout will. We cannot always control the imagination, but we can always do that which is our duty carefully and patiently, with a view to pleasing God, and proving our love to Him. We may feel cold and mechanical, but we cannot fulfill our appointed duty without an exercise of the will, and therefore all duties diligently performed testify a desire to love, and prove our love. H.L. SIDNEY LEAR.

We must not allow ourselves to be cast down, nor to despair, because our hearts seem colder at one time than another. The test of the cold heart is the yielding to sin, and, if we are clinging to Him, and to His will, we may be quite sure that what we take for coldness of heart is a trial, not a treason. FREDERICK TEMPLE.

Your everlasting consolation

Everlasting consolation. 2 Thessalonians 2:16

I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.

By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. — He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. —I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. — Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? — The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. — So shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore cormfort one another with these words.

This is not your rest. —Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Ezekiel 16:60. Hebrews 10:14. Hebrews 7:25. 2 Timothy 1:12. Romans 11:29. Romans 8:35. Revelation 7:17. 1 Thessalonians 4:17,18. Micah 2:10. Hebrews 13:14.

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee. Deuteronomy 18:18

[Moses] stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid. — There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. — Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. — Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Deuteronomy 5:5. 1 Timothy 2:5. Numbers 12:3. Matthew 11:29. Philippians 2:5-7. Hebrews 3:5,6.