The term “Good Friday” seems like such a paradox. Whether you’re a Christian or not, the brutal torture and execution of a man on a Roman cross is far from anyone’s definition of a “good” Friday. At best, we might be able to come to the conclusion that such an end to a man may be good if, indeed, the man was on the level of a Hitler or something. But, by most accounts, Jesus was actually a pretty nice guy. Many people liked him and wanted him to come to their parties. People came by the thousands to listen to him speak. Wherever he went, he drew a crowd. He wasn’t exactly the picture of a villainous criminal worthy of crucifixion.
Alas, whatever the opinion of people at the time, Jesus did hang on a cross. He died with his flesh torn from scourging and his head donned with a crown of thorns.
So, herein lies the question on this good friday, “why did Jesus die?”
Hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written to answer that question (Here’s one I recommend which you can download for free) and I won’t attempt in this brief post to expound on my own answers. What I want to do is share with you a few of the verses in the Bible that answer that question. Let us see and savor the good news of the cross and rejoice in the glory of the resurrection. For Jesus’ death is not vain or futile. It serves to bring us to God, but I’ll let the scriptures fill that in for you.
Here we go:
1 Corinthians 15:3 – For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
Galatians 3:13 – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written,“Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
Romans 3:25 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
1 John 4:10 – In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Romans 5:7-9 – For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Ephesians 1:7a – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses
Colossians 2:13 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 26:28 – this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
2 Corinthians 5:20 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Colossians 1:22 – he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
The list could go on from here, but I hope you get the gist. Jesus’ death was not empty. It was victorious. It is his death the brings us to God. I’ll leave you with one final piece of scripture on this Good Friday. Probably the best text in scripture to shed light on Jesus death. As you read and meditate on all these texts, I pray that you would see the good news for you and me in his death:
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 –
Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.