Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. (John 18:28, ESV)
After a night during which He was betrayed, denied, arrested, tried, beaten, and mocked, Jesus was led from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium, where He was presented to the Roman governor, Pilate, with the hope that Pilate would sentence Jesus to death. Although after questioning Jesus, Pilate was reluctant to sentence Him, the governor agreed to have Jesus flogged. Jesus was handed over to the Roman soldiers who beat Him to within an inch of His life, placed a crown of thorns on His head, and mocked Him.
When Jesus was brought back to Pilate, the governor once more sought to release Jesus. It was traditional at the Passover for the Romans to release a prisoner, and Pilate gave the people a choice between Jesus and a murderer named Barabbas. The crowd chose Barabbas. When Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus, the chief priests and the crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!” Pilate washed His hands of the matter and delivered Jesus over to be crucified. After carrying the heavy cross to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, Jesus was nailed by His hands and His feet to the cross.
Crucifixion was one of the most horrific methods of execution known to man. It was a long, painful, humiliating form of punishment. Jesus’ physical suffering on that cross must have been excruciating. But, perhaps even more painful was what Jesus experienced when, as He hung dying on that cross, the sins of all people were laid upon His shoulders. At that point, when Jesus looked to the Father, He could no longer see His face. Because He is a just and righteous God, the Father could no longer look upon His Son because of the sin that the Son now bore. At that moment, Jesus knew separation from God and He cried out, “My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46) And soon after that, saying, “It is finished,” Jesus died (John 19:30).
Why did Jesus suffer and die? He did so to pay the penalty for your sins and mine, the sins that separate us from God. He did it so that, by turning from our sins, believing that He is Lord and that He died for us, we could all have eternal life in the presence of God. He did it so that we would no longer have to experience that separation from the Father. He did it so that we will never have to say, “My God, my God! Why have You forsaken me?”
This day on which we commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice for us is called Good Friday. Now, that may seem like an incongruous name for the day on which Jesus died, but when we look at what His death provided for us, freedom from the bondage of sin and death, it makes perfect sense. It truly is “good.”
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.