If this is the day Jesus died, why is today good?
In the sense it is used good means holy when we say Good Friday. It is also called Great Friday, Holy Friday and Easter Friday in other traditions around the world. This is the day we commemorate Jesus as the atoning sacrifice. Holy Week is a time of preparation and consecration that seeks to take things one step at a time. Don’t jump ahead to the celebration; today is about the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Today we observe the crucified savior. If you’ve been reading the Gospel accounts all week, save that last chapter for Sunday.
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. (Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV)
That’s a snippet of Isaiah 53. You can read the whole thing here. New followers are joining us all the time and it’s been two years since the full text of He Cannot Save Himself were posted. So here is my Good Friday poem, based on the crucifixion accounts of the Gospels:
He Cannot Save Himself
Many questions were asked of him,
though no answer was heard.
Pilate pressed him to respond,
but Jesus spoke not a word.
As prophesied by Isaiah,
like a lamb he was silent.
Which angered the crowd even more,
and they began to riot.
Governor Pilate faced the Jews,
and in order to honor custom,
told them that at their choosing,
he would release one prisoner among them.
He knew that Jesus was delivered
out of envy, malice and vice.
But the crowd choose Barabbas,
shouting “Crucify Jesus Christ.”
Pilate washed his hands before them,
saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”
The crowd said “Let his blood be upon us,
and upon our sons.”
They stripped off his own garments,
placed on him a robe and crown.
And then pretended to worship,
before him kneeling down.
They placed on his head
a crown made of thorns.
Then they spat, hit and slapped him,
and mocked him to scorn.
They compelled the man Simon
to carry his cross.
And divided his garments,
by casting lots.
They made for him a sign,
placed over his head.
“This is Jesus, King of the
Jews” the words read.
Thieves were crucified with him,
on his left and his right.
One was loud and boastful,
the other more humble, contrite.
“We are guilty of our crimes,
and deserve to die this way.”
And when Jesus saw his faith,
promised paradise that day.
“He cannot save himself” they mocked,
as his blood fell to the ground.
But they were crucifying an innocent,
in whom no guilt was found.
This was God’s plan of salvation,
established before there was time.
Each event had been prophesied,
and now fell perfectly in line.
The trial, the false witness,
his hanging on a tree;
It was all prophesied clearly
in Isaiah fifty-three.
So the words of their mocking
are actually true, you see.
He could not save himself, for
on the cross… he saved me.
Clark Bunch, 2/17/2009
(If you steal it, give me credit)
Like the sacrificial lamb that Moses instructed be displayed by the children of Israel in Egypt, Jesus was hung on the tree. He explained in his own words to the disciples that like bread his body would be broken, and like the cup his blood would be spilled. God’s wrath was poured out on the one that did not know sin but for us became sin. “it was the will of the Lord to crush him.” (Is. 53:10) If you want to know how much God loves you, look in the manger. If you want to know how much God hates sin, look at the cross.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 ESV)