Why is Good Friday good?

By Grant Dibden

I remember as a kid laughing at Christianity for calling the day that Jesus died Good Friday. Good – the day that Jesus died! I thought that was crazy. Good Friday, the day the supposed hero died? Surely, it should be Bad Friday! I really had no clue about Christianity. I had gone to Sunday school and knew about Jesus, but I just didn’t understand the gospel.

Good Friday is good because Jesus exhausted the wrath of God on our behalf, on my behalf. Jesus came not to crucify His enemies, but to be crucified by them. Now, I know wrath isn’t a popular topic (massive understatement), but it’s what Jesus Himself says about his crucifixion:

“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” 
(John 18:11)

Key passages in the Bible connect God’s wrath with the imagery of a cup. Jeremiah 25:15 says, “Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.’”. Or Isaiah 51:17, “O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” Jesus is saying that He willingly will drink this cup of God’s wrath, a cup that has accumulated the fury of God against sins of all types. Rape, murder, adultery, careless words, dishonourable thoughts, pornography, lies, gossip, greed, every sin — all of it has been punished by God.

There, at Golgotha, our Saviour drained God’s cup of burning anger down to the dregs. God poured out his wrath, full strength, undiluted, onto his Son. Paul summarizes the meaning of this great event, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthian 5:21). It is unbelievable, isn’t it?

That’s why it’s Good Friday.

When we remember this, it makes the love of God even more incredibly good, doesn’t it? That He would do that for you and for me. Let me encourage you to drink deeply of God’s love because Jesus drank completely the cup of God’s wrath.

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