When I was a child, Good Friday was a unique day. About three o’clock in the afternoon, most of the stores and businesses closed and people went to church. The afternoon was a somber one. We’d come home and after dinner we’d color Easter eggs and begin to look forward to Sunday!
Today, Good Friday is not much more than a day on the calendar. People may or may not go to church, and if they do, it’s probably not at 3:00 in the afternoon. Nothing closes that early anymore, certainly not on a Friday
For most of the world, Good Friday is a day like any other, much like it was on the day Jesus died – the sun came up that the morning and it set that night. Nothing changed. And yet, everything changed!
However, most people probably didn’t notice a thing; only those in Jerusalem would have been aware that there was a crucifixion that day.
For the wicked, it was an opportunity to observe the heinous death of three men. For the sadistic, it was a chance to enjoy the brutality of humanity against humanity. For the death squadron of soldiers, it was a chance to make a buck, and vent some anger and frustration. For the public, it was a teaching moment to remind their children of the dead end path of thieves and liars.
For sinners: it was the beginning of the end of guilt and shame. It was the beginning of the end of limited access to God. It was the beginning of the end of captivity to the failings of this life. It was the beginning of the end of fear and hopelessness.
Jesus, the eternal God, died. God is immortal. He cannot die. He has always existed. He cannot cease to exist. So, God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, took on human flesh and came to earth to die. He died on Good Friday.
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:33-34
The soldiers were professionals. Jesus was dead. They made doubly sure. I wonder if the blood and the water splashed toward them. Did they move to avoid the blood? Or did it mingle with the blood of Jesus that had already splashed on them when they whipped him, beat him, and nailed him to the cross?
Did they realize it was this blood that would cleanse them from all their wickedness? Did they realize that this precious blood would redeem them from a purposeless life? Did they think for a moment that this blood would purchase their freedom from sin’s slavery?
One soldier did:
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the son of God!’” – Matthew 27:54
It was a day like any other. And yet, it was a day that changed history, even eternity, for those who believe, and choose to stand in the blood of Jesus which alone can wash them clean.