Today is Good Friday, and as we look forward to Resurrection Sunday, the question that often comes to mind each year around this time is “Why is it called ‘Good Friday’?” After all, what could possibly be good about what they did to Jesus when they crucified the Son of God, the One person, who, of all the men who ever lived deserved never to die?
The answer, revealed in the Scriptures, lies in the matchless wisdom and ways of our all-righteous, all-good & all-loving, sovereign God (Isaiah 55:9; 1 Corinthians 1:27).
Though the culpability of those who put the Lord to death remained, Peter, nonetheless, declared on the Day of Pentecost that all the events related to Jesus’ death (and resurrection) were according to God’s “predetermined plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23). What the Jewish and Roman authorities, “meant for evil,” to borrow from the lips of Joseph (Genesis 50:20), “God meant for good.” Frankly, there can be no other view, for as Psalm 119:68 further says of God, “You are good, and do good!” And Psalm 145:7, declares, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds.”
One of the most amazing and astounding aspects of our Lord’s death, as Paul explains in Philippians 2:1-8, is that Jesus did it with our interest, our good in mind. As another writer puts it, ” What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (see Matthew chapters 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” First Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” [https://www.gotquestions.org/Good-Friday.html] And yet at the same time, as wonderful as this reality is, we can also say that Jesus had another higher interest and purpose in mind as He willingly laid down His life for us on that day – namely, the glory of His Father.
In John 8:29, Jesus, referring to His heavenly Father said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” In the context of that verse (and other Scriptures) it’s clear that Jesus understood His death for sinners to be part His Father’s will for Him; part of the work which He had been given by His Father to finish (John 8:28; John 12:27-27; John 19:30; Isaiah 53;). So, with His portending death an assured reality, Jesus prayed in John 17:4, “I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do.”
While on the one hand, then, in light of what Jesus did on our behalf, today is designated “Good Friday”; on the other hand, in light of our Lord’s absolute obedience to His Father, even unto death, we could also designate it “God-glorifying Friday”.
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”(1 Timothy 1:17)
Down at the cross
Where my savior died
Down where for cleansing
From sin I cried
There to my heart
Was the blood applied
Glory to His name
Verse one of “Glory to His Name,” Hymn by Elisha Hoffman, 1868