You ever have one of those days when you think you have nobody to count on? When everyone turns their back on you? When you have no friends to count on? When you’re so lonely and despondent that you think that you don’t even have the ability to find a street to lay in for a truck to run you over?
Good Friday is the day when all of the should have changed.
The very Son of God Himself, who had come down from Heaven in human form to live among us, took upon himself the sins of the world and offered himself as the One Holy and Living Sacrifice in atonement for the sins of the world so we all might have the promise of eternal life, completed his earthly mission and accepted death in its most grisly form.
Crucifixion is very grisly indeed. The condemned was often beaten and otherwise mistreated and tortured. He was then humiliated by being forced to haul the very instrument of his own death through the crowds gathered to witness the ugly spectacle to the site of his own execution. After this, he was physically nailed to the beams of wood, through his wrists and ankles, without the benefit of any pain killing medications.
After all of this, the cross holding the victim was raised to a vertical orientation. The condemned would struggle for as long as he could against the suffocating effects of gravity and the accumulating fluids in his lungs from the beatings and other tortures.
While in all of this pain and grief, Jesus was moved to compassion for others whom the society of the day had cast aside (in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful passages in the entire Bible):
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
After a period of hours (or more), the condemned would tire and become exhausted to the point where he could no longer fight for his own life. At that point, death would usually come fairly quickly and bring with it the sweet relief of no longer feeling.
Jesus Christ endured all of this voluntarily so that we all might have the hope of everlasting life. We should all be exceedingly grateful that God sent His only Son to give us the gift of everlasting Grace.