It’s one of those verses I must have read a thousand times without a second thought. Tucked into the second chapter of 1 Corinthians, it’s easy to skim right past it. In discussing the wisdom of God, Paul writes, “None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Corinthians 2:8). Knowing that Jesus “was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23), it seems that God used the devious schemes of the enemy to bring about the world’s greatest blessing.
Pilate and the Jewish religious leaders had no idea what they were actually doing. Neither did the spiritual forces behind their power. (These dark gods were likely on Paul’s mind when he referred to the “rulers of this age.”) Neither did Jesus’s own disciples get it. It seems even those who remained close to Jesus in His agony had no idea the great victory that was being won on Good Friday. On that day, “Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last” (Mark 15:37), and that was the end—or so everyone thought.
I can’t think of anything worse than the murder of God. Good Friday, in that sense, is the darkest day in the history of the human race. Whatever atrocities or injustices our world has committed (or has yet to commit), they all pale in comparison with the moment when we nailed the perfect and innocent Son of God to a Roman cross and let His torn and bruised body twist in the wind. It’s gruesome beyond belief. But God shaped the greatest tragedy into the turning point of history.
On the cross, Jesus bore the weight of our sins (1Peter 2:24). He redeemed all those who trust in His name, providing forgiveness and pouring out the grace of God (Ephesians 1:7), even as His blood poured to the earth below. He did this so that we could draw near to God (1Peter 3:18), so that you and I could have eternal life (John 3:16). And through His death, Jesus destroyed the power of Satan (Hebrews 2:14).
But no one knew any of this when the nails were hammered into place. No one realized what God was doing when the sky turned dark and the rocks split open (Mark 15:33; Matthew 27:51). No one knew about the beautiful thing happening in the ugliness of the moment. Good Friday is good, not because of anything we did. To the contrary, we made it horrific. Even though none of us were alive back then to condemn Jesus, our sins made His sacrifice necessary. We are to blame. So Good Friday is good for one simple reason: God is good.
Written by John Greco