What is Good Friday About?

clay

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Jesus was crucified at 9:00 AM on Friday. During the firsts three hours the sun shone. Even in his pain and agony, Jesus focused on others—the soldiers, the thief, his mother. But at noon darkness fell upon the land—unexplainable. At his birth there was brightness at midnight; at his death there was darkness at midday. God shielded his Son’s greatest suffering. And the darkness was an object lesson of the wages of sin and separation from God. Hell is sometimes referred as “outer darkness.” And Jesus experienced hell for you on the cross.

Death on a cross was the worst possible death–reserved only for the most despised criminals. Polite Romans considered it an obscenity to even say the word “cross.” No one was wearing cross necklaces! Jews considered a person hanging on a cross to be under the curse of God based on the law found in Dt. 21:23.

But what happened to Jesus was not just a painful and degrading formof punishment; he suffered the wrath of God against every person’s sin.

• He became a curse, as he bore our sins (Gal. 3:13)
• He gave his life as a ransom for sin (Mark 10:45)
• “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

This made the death of Jesus different from anyone else’s death and the worst possible death. As our substitute he bore the penalty for sin in himself, feeling separation from the Father, tasting death for every person, experiencing hell, crying out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus went as far as it took down that shaft into the darkness to save you—“even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). For three hours the sun refused to shine, as if even nature couldn’t bear to look on the terrible scene. As Christ mysteriously became sin for us, the darkness of the sky was an outward symbol of the spiritual darkness that enveloped him. Darkness symbolizes separation from God who is light and in whom “there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).


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