Good Friday. The day that the sky turned dark in the middle of the afternoon (Matt 27:45). The day the Father turned away from His Son (v. 46). The day Jesus gave up his spirit (v. 50). The day the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth shook violently (v. 51). The day the tombs broke open and dead people walked the streets of Jerusalem (v. 52). The day an innocent man died for crimes He did not commit. Why then, do we call it “Good?”
Because this is the day that bought freedom for condemned men and women. This is the day that love bled and died so that you and I might live eternally. It is a good day. It is a holy day. But we need to know the back story to understand why.
The Jewish religion was centered around sacrifice and atonement. Blood was necessary to atone for sin and make the people clean – “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22), because “The life of a creature [human or animal] is in the blood (Lev 17:11). In God’s holy covenant, only “blood makes atonement for one’s life” (Lev. 17:14). Blood is synonymous with life – any physician will tell you that when the body runs out of blood the life is drained with it. Life is the price of our sins.
God in His mercy allowed animals’ blood to stand in for men’s blood, but its effect was short-lived and only partially cleansing. It had to be repeated year after year after year. But He had planned a better way; a way that would atone for sin “once for all” (Heb. 9:12), but it required perfect blood that was only available through a divine and holy being. But there’s a problem. God can’t die. So His one and only Son became a man – a man with divine blood – that He might atone for humanity’s sin. He hung on a cross and dripped that perfect blood from His broken human body. No other sacrifice would be needed. Jesus had done it all.
That is why we call this dark day “Good Friday.” Beloved if you repent of your sins and receive Jesus’ cleansing, you will understand how good this day is. It is the day that good overcame evil (Rom 12:21).