Good Friday: Why we Remember
Remembrance is a fundamental and powerful aspect of the Christian life. Throughout Scripture, the people of God are encouraged to remember the acts, commands, and character of God. Stones were set in place, altars were built, festivals were celebrated, and epistles were written, all so that God’s people would not forget his wonderful deeds of redemption and providence.
So, this day is yet another opportunity for us to be stirred up with gratitude and holy affections in our souls as we observe Good Friday.
In our observance of Good Friday, we remember the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. On that dark day, the Son of God was executed at the hands of Roman soldiers after being condemned by the Jewish Sanhedrin. This gruesome form of capital punishment was typically reserved for slaves and enemies of the state. It was a slow, horrific death.
Jesus was scourged, which left his flesh ripped and torn. He was taken to the Roman barracks where he was beaten, mocked, and spit upon. A crown of thorns was fashioned and cruelly forced upon his head. He then had to bear the burden of his crossbeam as he walked the Via Dolorosa to Mount Calvary.
Our Savior was nailed to his cross where he would suffer unspeakable agony. A sign hung above his bleeding head which read “the King of the Jews”. From the ground, he was mocked by those who challenged him to save himself and come down from the cross. As he hung between two others, he had to endure insult even there. All of this took place as soldiers cast lots for his tunic. Sour wine was given to him to drink from a sponge, and shortly thereafter he uttered the words “It is finished.” Then he died.
Why would we observe such a day? What kind of people would commemorate an event marked by such pain and suffering? A redeemed people would. A forgiven people would. A called and justified people would. A family of Spirit-filled adopted sons and daughters would.
We look back to the cross, and we are simultaneously brought low and lifted high because it was there our sin was atoned for. It was there God’s wrath was propitiated and our sinful guilt was expiated. It was on that ugly cross that the beauty of God’s grace shone bright. The justice of God kissed the mercy of God as the Lamb of God died in our place.
We reflect on the cross and we know we would be hopelessly lost and excluded from God’s kingdom, if the Father had not covenanted with the Son in eternity past to redeem for himself a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. We would have been left alone to stand before God on the day of judgment and give an account for our sinful rebellion if he had not graciously intervened to become our righteousness by faith.
Jesus was wounded so that his people would be healed. Jesus was broken so that we would be made whole. He was rejected so that we would be embraced. He became sin to free us from the penalty and power of sin. The most scandalous truth in the universe is that God the Son became like us so that he could make us like him. Jesus died our death and rose again, so that we would be revived with his life.
Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to remember today. Remember that Jesus’ active and passive obedience has overcome your sinful disobedience. Remember that in Christ there is no condemnation. Remember that you are loved eternally. Remember that you have a blessed, glorious, and purifying hope because the same Jesus who died and rose again will indeed return.