When I was a child, my non-Christian mind struggled to understand the “goodness” of Good Friday. Wasn’t this the day Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilot and was crucified? How could something so horrible be understood as good? Even as a Christian, to think upon the cross of sacrifice is sobering: Jesus died the death he died, because I have lived the life I have lived. Consider two of Jesus’ statements recorded by our Gospel writers from that first “Good Friday”: “Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34)” and “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)” The first statement required the second. The second secured the first.
Perhaps the most remarkable statement from the cross is what John records as his last: “It is finished. (John 19:30)” Although there are many aspects to the coming of Jesus, it is correct to say simply: “He came to die.” He died that we would live (John 10:10; 2 Cor 5:15; 1 Thes 5:10). In that sense, his work was finished. Moreover, so was ours. Our works to reconcile our sinful selves with a holy God were over. Once and for all, by faith in Christ’s work, we are right with God. His righteousness for our wrongs, his wholeness for our brokenness, his beauty for our ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
It is not good that human sin, my sin, necessitated the cross; what is infinitely good is that Jesus “loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)”