Good Friday is an odd name to commemorate something so horrific. On that day:
Jesus was betrayed and given over to enemies. He had done nothing wrong, yet He endured great pain as He was beaten beyond recognition. (Isaiah 52:14)
Jesus gave Himself over to physical beating and humiliation. (Isaiah 50:6)
Jesus actually became sin, even though He was completely perfect. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus was tortured and crucified. (Mark 15:15-20, 24)
Since all of that was incredibly horrific, why do we commemorate the day with the term “good”? I don’t know the exact reason it was given the name “Good Friday”, but I do know there was good that came out of those horrible events.
When Jesus experienced all of those terrible things, He did so willingly. He “gave” Himself to the torture that marred Him from recognition. “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6) The fact that He “gave” Himself to it means He chose to do it. His torture was a gift of love for us. He willingly endured it all for us. He paid the price for our sin, for our unrighteousness. We deserve what He endured.
After all of the horrible things He experienced, He then “gave” Himself to death with the cry, “It is finished!” “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30) His death completed the atonement of sin for all mankind. His willing submission to torture and death completely satisfied the wrath of God, the wrath we deserve. His cry, “It is finished!” was not a cry of defeat or giving up, it was the cry of victory.
“It was a Conqueror’s cry; it was uttered with a loud voice. There is nothing of anguish about it, there is no wailing in it. It is the cry of One who has completed a tremendous labor.” (Spurgeon)
He had finished a work that no other man could finish. Our sin debt was paid in full when Jesus made that victorious cry. When we accept the gift of salvation that is offered because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we can also proclaim victoriously, “It is finished!” because our sin debt is canceled and our eternity is secure! That glorious victory is the good that came from the horrific events that are remembered on Good Friday.