No day in human history is as complex and confusing as Good Friday. We call it “good” for reasons we will explore in a moment. But regardless of how good it is, Good Friday is a horrific day. It is the day the only truly good man who ever lived died. And He did not simply die; He was murdered. And He was not merely murdered (if one can be merely murdered), but was tortured to death by experts at their bloody craft. And upon being murdered, the innocent man—the perfect man—cried in agony, asking why His Father had forsaken Him. It was the darkest of days, the most unjust and evil of days.
Yet it was good—good for you and for me and every other person who has ever lived. For through the evil, God brought life and hope to the world.
Isaiah 66 describes God comforting His people like a mother. He promises to wrap them in His arms and bring them peace and joy. He promises they will flourish like grass and that peace will flow like a river.
How? By way of Good Friday—a perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s need for justice. Through the evil committed against Jesus came all our joy. We have peace. We can flourish. There is no distance between us and God. He wraps us up in His arms like a mother embraces her children.
Isaiah describes how God’s glory would be declared to the nations and that all the nations would be gathered to Him. That means God’s salvation—this comfort and peace and security—is available to all.
How could this be? The entire Old Testament had been about God setting a people apart and rescuing them. We must remember that He set them apart for something. God set His people apart to be a light to the nations and to declare His glory—the glory of His Son, the glory of Good Friday.
Good Friday was the day the door was opened for all nations to come to God. It was the day the doors of Zion were opened so all could rest in the joy of God’s salvation.
On this dark, heinous day we rest in the complexity and we wrestle with the complexity, because this evil and injustice gives us life and hope and rest everlasting in the arms of a loving God. And that is a good thing.
Written by Barnabas Piper