We read that Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed “Father, the time has come…”
Jesus’ life was not taken from Him, it was freely GIVEN by Him. There was an inevitability about the public trial, torture and terrible death of Jesus. As He later said to the two men on the road to Emmaus “Did not the Christ HAVE to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” (Luke 24:26)
The cross was not only a time of physical anguish, but also mental suffering. The whole of Heaven grieved at the evil attacking God’s Son on Calvary. There was a sign hung over Our Lord’s head on the cross, with the message “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews” (Matt 27:37) These words were written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. Aramaic was the language of religion, Latin the language of the law, and Greek was the language of culture. The Romans, who prided themselves on their jurisprudence, here in the trial and sentence of Jesus showed the utter failure of law. The Jewish religion was the greatest on earth, but now it was involved in murdering the Son of God whom its sacred book honoured. Greek was the language of culture and here, the highest level of civilisation the world had ever known, rejected Jesus.
How sad Jesus must have been to see that the best that people could aspire to in law, faith and culture had revolted so violently against their Creator God and His only Son. How desperately we all need God!
On that cross, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them’. From His gracious word, pardon and forgiveness is freely given to all who believe and turn to Him. When He died, Jesus declared – not in defeat, but in triumph – “It is finished!” Our debt to God is repaid, restitution in full has been credited to our account by Jesus’ sacrificial giving.
The good news is that Jesus has defeated both Satan and death. When he rose triumphant from the dead on the third day, he promised “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). All who believe in Him will experience God’s forgiveness and eternal life.
That cruel cross represented the worst evil the world could perform. It also demonstrated the best thing Heaven has ever done. A terrible crime was cancelled by the greatest love ever known. For us, the beneficiaries of Jesus death, that is indeed the good news of Good Friday.