Why is Good Friday “Good”?

Today is Good Friday.  When I was younger I always wondered why it was called “good”, since this day represents the day Jesus died on the cross.  This morning a friend of mine posted this cartoon to their Facebook wall.  It should help explain the “good” in Good Friday.

"I hate the term 'Good Friday'." "Why?" "My Lord was hanged on a tree that day." "If you were going to be hanged on that day, and he volunteered to take your place, how would you feel?" "Good." "Have a nice day."

Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin.  We deserved far more than death by a cross (like it says in the cartoon).  We hated Jesus and purposefully rebelled against Him.  And yet He came to earth and gave all He could possibly give–His life–for us.  Because of our sin every one of us should go to hell (a place without God) forever.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23 (NIV 1984).  Because of His redeeming sacrifice we have been washed clean and are able to enter heaven (God’s home) if we accept Jesus’ gift.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no man can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV 1984).

This evening, at our church’s Good Friday service we sang the song “Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted”.  Here are the lyrics:

Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, See Him dying on the tree! ‘Tis the Christ by man rejected; Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He! ‘Tis the long-expected prophet, David’s Son, yet David’s Lord; By His Son, God now has spoken Tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear him groaning, Was there ever grief like his? Friends thro’ fear his cause disowning, Foes insulting his distress; Many hands were raised to wound him, None would interpose to save; But the deepest stroke that pierced him Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate. Mark the sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load; ’tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God. 

Here we have a firm foundation, Here the refuge of the lost; Christ’s the Rock of our salvation, His the name of which we boast. Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, Sacrifice to cancel guilt! None shall ever be confounded Who on him their hope have built.


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