Sir Henry Morton Stanley was a Welsh journalist and explorer who famously found missionary and explorer David Livingstone in Zanzibar, Africa after six years of lost communication and supposed death. Sir Henry wrote in his autobiography of his childhood remembrances of the spring holidays: “Good Friday was always a gloomy day with us, and Easter was solemn.”
Isn’t that the way we often feel about Good Friday? It is like a funeral day for our Lord and Savior. I have been part of numerous discussions where we asked, “Why isn’t Good Friday called Bad Friday?” Good Friday seems so bad, doesn’t it?
On Good Friday, Jesus was betrayed, prosecuted in a bogus court, and sentenced to death. He suffers and dies for crimes He never committed. When we take a step back, we notice that the cross is God’s answer to the question, “Why don’t you do something about evil?” Did you ever ask as the prophet Habakkuk asked, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! ‘Violence is everywhere!’ I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted” (Habakkuk 1:2–4, NLT). Habakkuk had a very real sense of humanity’s sinfulness and God’s holy nature.
So, the cross is God doing something—and what He did was so powerful that it changed the universe itself. God does not merely empathize with our sufferings. He came into history as Jesus. What Jesus suffered, God suffered. God ordained and allowed Jesus’ temporary suffering so He could prevent our eternal suffering.
I love how Joni Erickson Tada puts it, “God permits what He hates to achieve what He loves.” The Apostle John writes, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT). You remember that verse from Sunday school don’t you? And who was the world? Everyone who has or ever will live. Why? Because, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all” (Romans 3:10–18, NLT).
Today, I have included some YouTube videos of some songs that describe the complex work of the cross. I hope they lead you to reflect on just what God has done through Jesus. The cross is not just some theological truth; it is something we should meditate over and ponder. Good Friday should allow us the opportunity to sit in the presence of God silently and prayerfully. Reflect quietly on what the cross means to you as you listen to these songs.
Silence is not too popular in our culture. Nevertheless, the cross is an event that should be absorbed, not just described. Today, hear Christ’s call and trust Him for all the benefits that come from recognizing that he had taken your place on the cross that Good Friday.
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents.