Today is Good Friday. If you’ve heard the account of what actually occurred on that day over 2000 years ago – what Jesus endured on the cross - you may wonder why it’s called “Good” Friday.
Christians view Good Friday as a day of deep significance and meaning – a holy day - representing the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity and the hope that his death and resurrection offer to believers. The term "Good" Friday, therefore, reflects the ultimate outcome of Jesus' suffering and death, rather than the events of the day itself. And if Good Friday didn’t happen, we certainly wouldn’t have Resurrection Sunday – What we now call Easter Sunday.
All that led up to that glorious day is the Easter story. And did you know that you, friend, were in every single part of the Easter story?
You may have heard that you were on His mind when He was on the cross.
But did you know that when He sat at the table at the last supper, He was thinking of you then? As He told Judas that he would betray Him, and when He said to Simon Peter, “you will deny Me three times.” (Luke 22). He thought of you.
He thought of that time when you chose the wrong crowd to hang out with. He thought of the time when you chose alcohol to handle your situation instead of turning to Him. He thought of when you chose to elevate that relationship with someone else over the one with your Heavenly Father.
And do you know what He did? He broke the bread, drank the wine, and willingly sacrificed Himself for you, despite your rejection of Him in your life. (Mathew 26:17-30).
But did you know you were also on His mind in the garden? As His disciples were asleep, He was awake thinking of you. (Luke 22:44). He was sweating blood, praying to God, just waiting for the soldiers to come arrest Him, and He was thinking of your life. He knew thousands of years later that you would also be awake one night, anxious about something. And He showed you that what you need to do in your own desperation is to call out to the Father, just as He did in the garden. He knew what was about to come would be the hardest thing a human would ever have to endure. But He humbly put His hands behind Him, was handcuffed, and taken away for an eternal life with you. (Matthew 27).
And yes, when Jesus was in front of Pilate you were in His mind then too. As He watched Pilate be persuaded by the demands of the people in the crowd shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). You came to mind. He thought of how in your life you would also be pressured to do the wrong thing. The risks were too high. The pressures to keep up were too great. But your desire to be loved and accepted by others were greater. But do you know what happened next? Our Savior, that could have stopped it all, at any point, showed us what it means to walk in humility, and He allowed them to make the decision of His death. And He loved you through all of it. (1 John 4:19).
And as the soldiers spit in His face and mocked Him, He thought of that person in your life that would make you feel less than. But He perfectly demonstrated that you only need to stand still, because what will come will be greater than any revenge. (Exodus 14:14).
Even when they placed the crown of thorns on His head, making fun of Him, labeling Him with names that were not of Him, He thought of you. He thought of that time when you would be labeled by the world... “Unworthy” “ugly” “not good enough.” And instead, He called you by name, wrote your name on His palm, and said, “You are mine.” So that when the world told you these lies you wouldn't have to receive it. As His own possession, you could stand firm in the truth that you are more than worthy, so loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, and bought with the Ultimate Price. (Psalm 139:14).
And even after His beating, Jesus, bruised, beaten, and bloody picked up His cross. And He thought of you. He thought of when you would feel like life was beating you and kicking you when you were already down. He thought of when you would lose that family member, lose your job, lose your marriage, and lose your mind all in the same week. And He showed you then, on His way to Golgotha, that you have the power to pick up your cross, have hope, and have faith. (John 16:33) Because there were good things ahead. No, hanging on the cross was not good. But the outcome of the cross? That is the greatest good of all. (John 3:16).
And when Jesus fell to the ground after carrying His cross up the hill, He planned a man to help Him carry it the rest of the way, because He wanted you to know that you don't have to carry your burden alone. That He would place friends and family in your life for you to lean on in hard times. And the greatest part of all? You will forever have your Creator to rely on for help in times of need and desperation (Psalm 46:1).
Then, once He had made it up to Mount Skull, He laid on that cross, with His arms stretched out, and YOUR name was on His mind. As they drove the nails into His hands and feet, He thought about the abundance and indescribable amount of love He has for YOU. And as the soldiers put the cross up and our Savior began His crucifixion, He said, “Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Because He wanted you to know that when people do wrong to you, and hurt you, you can still forgive them, through the Father, who forgave all sins. (Colossians 3:13).
And right before Jesus took His last breath and uttered the words, "It is finished” (Luke 19: 30), He thought of YOU. He thought of your addiction, your anxiety, your depression, your struggles, your lust, your greed, your envy, your selfishness. He thought of every sin you would ever commit. And He said that it was finished. He declared in that moment that you no longer have to hold onto those sins weighing you down! It is done! He has taken them away.
Did you know even in His death He was thinking of you? He thought of you as His child. He thought of you as His friend. And He thought of that season of waiting you are going through right now. He thought of your broken heart that needs mending. He thought of the tears you cry at night. And He reveals Himself to be a dependable Father. The perfect Father. One that in that season of waiting you can trust.
Because do you know what happened on the third day? He fulfilled His promise! He defeated death and rose from the grave! And He gave you and me an opportunity to rise with Him! No longer a slave to death in that moment, but free from our shackles, and raised to eternal life with our Savior!
And as He rose, He thought of YOU. In fact, you were His first thought, and He was overjoyed at the thought of spending forever with YOU. With His child. His sculpted masterpiece.
And as He ascended into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God. And now? He waits for the glorious day that you will join Him in eternity.
And as we wait for that glorious day, He gave a promise. That as we live the rest of our days in the flesh on this earth we will have a little bit of heaven in our hearts – The Holy Spirit. With Him we can live with joy in the midst of hard circumstances. We can have hope when things look bleak. We can stand strong when the world presses in on us. And we can learn to be His disciples. We can continue to be a part of the Easter story, even thousands of years later (Matthew 28: 19- 20). The way we live our lives can be a testimony of His loving kindness and His merciful love that makes people want to have what we have. We too can spread the good news! And we can tell people who may not have ever heard the Easter story, the gift that He bought for us with His life. And all they have to do is receive it! All they have to do is believe! (John 3:16).
So before you skip over that Easter post on social media, or look past that Bible verse, or tune out of that sermon this Sunday morning, remember… He specifically thought of YOU, every single step of the way. So let’s think of Him today Good Friday, tomorrow, and forever. Let’s celebrate the Easter story of You and your All Powerful Savior. Because quite frankly, it is the best story of all time.
Friend, If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you want to know more, it would be my privilege to talk with you. Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
I have been looking forward to sharing this very personal and moving excerpt with you. I shared it one time with a group of beautiful, young teen mommas. I must tell you, though, I didn’t write it myself. I’ve adapted it a bit, but I honestly can’t remember the source. But it’s worth sharing. If I find the original author, I will most definitely give them credit. Have a blessed Good Friday and a Happy Easter.