Good Friday – 2021
I love that line-This is Good Friday. But everything is turned upside down on this day. Think about it-we call the day “good” when Jesus died. This is the day in which we remember that the Son of God, the greatest person who ever walked this earth, was crucified. How is it good? That’s what I want us to think about and reflect on tonight. And 2 words from that video capture the essence of it-For You. Did you catch what it said-His Body Broken-For You. His Blood Poured Out-For You. His Life Given-For You. Good Friday is good because what Jesus did there was done for you and for me. And the first place to see that in our Bibles was actually written 700 years before Good Friday occurred-but it clearly communicates the all-important idea of substitution-which is what the phrase For You is all about all. Notice the pronouns-because that’s the key to this whole thing-Isa 53:3-5. That’s saying we deserved it but someone else faced it. The punishment should have been ours but someone else endured it. We needed to pay the fine but someone else paid it. It’s a remarkable truth. Look at-Isa 53:6. We made the mistakes-and someone else willingly paid for them. We were the sheep in this verse who wandered away-but Jesus is the Shepherd who pays the price for what we did. When was the last time that ever happened to you-when someone else paid for your mistakes-meaning took your punishment, or paid your fine, or served your sentence? If you used to get in trouble as a kid-and got grounded for it-did your siblings ever serve the sentence for you? Mom, Dad, let me be grounded over the weekend instead of my brother-He deserved it-but I’ll face it! Never-your siblings probably laughed at you-you got in trouble! Or if you get pulled over for speeding and issued the ticket has the officer said-I’m writing this ticket out for you-but when I’m done I’m pulling out my wallet to then pay it for you. Never! Who willingly volunteers to do that sort of thing for someone? But this passage is highlighting the incredible truth that someone has! And it’s not just being grounded for you or paying a ticket for you- but back to Good Friday-His Body Broken-For You. His Blood Poured Out-For You. His Life Given-For You. Two little words that communicate so much! Jesus suffered and died-For You.
Take a look Mark 15 and we will see how this prophecy in Isaiah became reality-Mark 15:22-27. It’s such a small word for such horrible pain-crucified. But after being mocked, whipped and beaten-after being crowned with that crown of thorns and ridiculed for being a King-the soldiers then took long nails and drove them into Jesus’ hands and feet and left Him to die. There He hung, bleeding and suffering for all to see. And Mark goes on to describe what the onlookers said; they’re response to this. And before we put it up you imagine people were amazed right? That people were stunned and speechless that Jesus would be their substitute and bear the punishment on their behalf? Take a look at Mark 15:29-30–You foolish teacher, you delusional Rabbi-what were you thinking claiming to be the Messiah? Now you’re dying! Why hang there if you truly are the Savior you claim to be? But the underlying thought is that of course you’re not the Savior, you’re not who you claim to be otherwise this would have turned out differently. So now here you are stuck on a cross to die. To them it’s this resounding question-What good is a Savior who can’t save Himself? And the religious leaders pick up on this same mode of thinking-v. 31. Again it’s the same idea-what good is a Savior who can’t save Himself? What kind of Savior goes and lets himself die? Isn’t a Savior supposed to do some saving? Hard to do that when you’re nailed to a cross! But you and I know the real answer to that because their statements perfectly capture the essence of the gospel-Only a Savior willing to bear our punishment lets Himself die. Only a Savior willing to become the sacrifice stays on the cross. If Jesus is our substitute-which He is-then He can’t save Himself in order to save us.
One of the greatest ironies of the Cross is that the onlookers and the religious leaders are actually speaking the truth-they just don’t know it. He saved others, He cannot save Himself! Exactly! What they’re saying in mockery is the brilliance and goodness of the gospel. That for Jesus to be able to save us He cannot save Himself-because sure, Jesus could have jumped off the cross. As the Son of God He had all the power in the universe at His disposal to pull His hands and feet off those nails, to regain full strength and let those people have it. That wouldn’t have been hard for Him at all. Last Sunday we talked about how Jesus wins the great battle of Armageddon with one word as all the armies of the world are gathered against Him. This is one simple crowd. Jesus didn’t have to hang there and suffer, He didn’t need to be ridiculed and mocked, He could have saved Himself in an instant-and as we read about His pain and suffering we wish He would, don’t we? When we hear that mockery we want Jesus to silence them and have the last word! Jump off that Cross and show those arrogant onlookers who you really are!! But if Jesus does that, if He saves Himself, then we’re still lost and stuck in our sins. If Jesus avoids the pain of the cross, then the punishment for our sins isn’t paid for, and we’re not saved. Someone has to die-and Jesus chooses Himself. His Body Broken-For You. His Blood Poured Out-For You. His Life Given-For You.
That’s the crux of the gospel-someone had to die for our sins. There’s no other way-either you and I die in our sins when this life is over-and that takes an eternity to do as we’ll be forever separated from God, enduring the pain and punishment of hell that our sins deserve. Or Jesus faces all that pain and punishment for us in 3 hours by dying on the cross. It’s one or the other. And what is so good about Good Friday is that we have a Savior who was willing to do that. He was willing to hang there by nails driven through His hands and feet, He was willing to bleed and suffer, willing to be made a public spectacle, enduring the unjust and undeserved mockery of the onlookers and religious leaders, He was willing to not save Himself so that you and I could be saved. That’s the kind of Savior we have. It wasn’t the nails that held Him there on that wretched cross; it was His obedience to the Father’s plan and His love for sinners like you and me that held Him there. He stayed so we could be saved. The religious leaders shouted out-v. 32. That was the proof they wanted. We’ll only believe if we see Him powerfully jump off the cross. But we believe precisely because He didn’t come off the cross but sacrificially stayed there, endured the pain and gave up His life. Have you ever thought about it like that? We believe because our Savior didn’t do what He wanted, He didn’t do what He could totally do-He did what we needed. v. 33-37. And John’s gospel tells us what Jesus said in that loud cry-John 19:30. Three words that say so much-and mean so much for our lives. When Jesus says It is finished-He means that the torment He’s enduring is finished. It’s complete, it’s over and done with-and that torment was the punishment that our sins deserved. He didn’t deserve any of it-He was the only innocent, sinless, perfect person that ever lived. So when Jesus says It is finished-the punishment for all the mistakes we’ve made is fully and completely and forever paid by Jesus-there’s nothing left for us to pay when we believe in Him.
So that statement-those 3 words are so important for you. That when you make a mistake, when you blow it, when you do something terrible that you regret and are ashamed of-God’s not dangling that over your head saying-Now I’ll make you pay. You need to remember it’s already been paid for-It is finished. When Jesus says those words He means them! Jesus didn’t say It is finished-except for that leftover part you’ll still need to pay to God later. Or It is finished now-but anything else you do to mess up is on you-and God will get you for it. No-all the guilt, all the punishment for all your sins-past, present and future-were paid for in full at the cross by Jesus who paid it all for you and said-It is finished! There’s nothing left to pay. No outstanding debt. No extra, untoned for sins. You don’t do your part while He does His part. He finished it all for you. Now the Evil One doesn’t want you to remember that. He wants you weighed down with guilt-worried that God’s still mad at you and you better do your best to prove yourself to Him. Other people in life don’t want you to remember that when they keep bringing up your past and reminding you of your mistakes-I know what you did-you’ll pay for that one day. If you’ve trusted in Jesus that day of payment has already happened, it’s already paid for-and it was at the cross on Good Friday. That’s what this is all about. God is not out to get you. God is not storing up punishment for you. God is not mad at you. God is here to forgive you, restore you and set you free-all because His Son Jesus became your substitute and stayed on the cross in order to then say-It is finished. And when you believe in Jesus and trust in Him to save you-those words become your words. You can look at the guilty record of all of your sins and mistakes-and you can confidently and joyously cry out-It is finished-because of Jesus! His Body Broken-For You. His Blood Poured Out-For You. His Life Given-For You. It Is Finished-For You.
And that’s what we want to remember as we come to Communion. Jesus gave up His life on Good Friday-but with His disciples-the night before, on Thursday-He picked up some bread and a cup to show them to what was going to happen to Him on Friday. The bread and cup don’t save you-but they’re a vivid picture of who does save you and that’s Jesus!