Philippians 2:5–11 (NKJV) — 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Good Friday. It’s all in the name. What is so good about this day? I suspect that we already know the answer to that question but to remind ourselves again is profitable for us. Without Jesus going to the cross then we would all still be in sin and trouble.
Let’s see what Jesus did for us, for each of us so listen carefully.
What Jesus did was voluntary. He chose to do this. He humbled Himself. At no point was this something He was forced to do. Yes, it was the only way for us to be saved and Jesus did it willingly.
John 10:18 (NKJV) — 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) — 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Notice that? For the joy set before Him. Because He knew what the result would be He willingly went to the cross. What was the joy? We are the joy. We are so precious in His sight He is full of joy when we walk with Him.
His willingness led to His death. Jesus showed us how to live but first and foremost He came to die, to be obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
When it says ‘even the death of the cross’ we need to grasp how shameful it was to both a Jewish mind and to a Roman mind.
To the Jewish mind these verses would come to mind when someone was crucified:
Deuteronomy 21:22–23 (NKJV) — 22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
A person hanged from a tree is under God’s judgment. It was by no mistake that this was in Scripture. Jesus came under God’s judgment. Jesus became a curse for us so in the Divine exchange we could receive a blessing. He paid the price for us that we should have paid. Jesus was cursed with our curse and in turn we were blessed with His blessing as the sinless Son of God.
To a Roman mind, the concept of the death of Christ on the cross was offensive. And for the Son of God to die this way so shamefully was, in their minds, ridiculous.
1 Corinthians 1:23 (NKJV) — 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
What we preach to the world is total foolishness. When we preach Christ, crucified and raised to an unbelieving world it is rejected as foolishness. To those who have experienced in a personal way Jesus Christ and Him crucified Jesus it is for us the power of God unto salvation. And we wonder how it can be foolishness to others when it makes sense to us. Thanks be to God that the eyes of our hearts and minds were opened.
The obedience which Christ demonstrated on the cross was not easy, it was an obedience that was hard, it cost Him something: Just read the gospel accounts leading up to His death: He was slapped, name called, whipped, scourged, nailed by His hands and feet to a cross with thorns piercing His head, hanging in pain for 6 hours, tormented and left to die in humiliation. And then the most haunting words of all: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
When Jesus died He took our sins and He endured the curse of God, the judgment of God for our sin, all for us, for our benefit. When Jesus died, He died so that we might know and experience the power of God unto salvation—so that we could know what we did not know before: the righteousness of God, the justification of God, the redemption of God, the forgiveness of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and eternal life.
Now we are called to follow in His footsteps, to become like Jesus. Who here wants to be humiliated, to suffer, to be rejected, to die? To become like Jesus is to have no reputation or at least to have a reputation we are willing to lose. To take up our cross is to be like Jesus willing for these things, those things that happened to Him, to happen to us. Because nothing should get in the way of knowing Jesus and what He has done for us. But who here is really willing to go through hell like Jesus did?
How Jesus outstrips us as a person, how more amazing that God Himself as the Supreme Son of God who deserves all glory and honour, went to die an accursed, shameful, painful death for us.
It is called Good Friday because on this day almost 2000 years ago Jesus did all things for us so that we could live. We follow Him because we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus. We follow Him because He loves us. Because He loves us we love Him.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.