Text: Isaiah 66:1-24, Matthew 27:32-50
It feels counterintuitive to call this day good. “Good Friday,” we say, but for a long time I could not understand why. How is the murder of the world’s only sinless person—the only truly, wholly good human—good?
In a very real sense, it was awful. And not just awful, but evil. The dark hearts of men put Jesus to death, causing Him to suffer and mocking Him at each step. It was the height of injustice, a banner day for cruelty. But it was not the end of the story.
In his response to today’s reading over at our brother site, He Reads Truth, author Barnabas Piper explains the paradox this way:
“It was the darkest of days, the most unjust and evil of days. Yet it was good—good for you and for me and every other person who has ever lived. For through the evil, God brought life and hope to the world.
“Isaiah 66 describes God comforting His people like a mother. He promises to wrap them in His arms and bring them peace and joy. He promises they will flourish like grass and that peace will flow like a river.
“How? By way of Good Friday—a perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s need for justice. Through the evil committed against Jesus came all our joy. We have peace. We can flourish. There is no distance between us and God. He wraps us up in His arms like a mother embraces her children.”
Yes, the darkness of this day is real, and it is painful. It should cause us to wince, to mourn, to grow quiet as we gaze soberly upon the wounded Christ hanging on His cross. It should cause us to repent of our sin—the sin He carried and suffered for in our place. But it should also cause us to worship. It is by His wounds that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). It is His suffering that brought us peace (Isaiah 66:12).
Good Friday was the day the promised Messiah secured salvation for sinners. It was the day God’s holy and just wrath against sin was satisfied by the sinless sacrifice of His Son. It was the day the curtain of separation from God was torn so that all could enter in.
Yes, this day is good. Thanks be to God.