"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Today we remember the journey, the three days that changed the world. Even if you are not a believer, you must acknowledge that the journey from the garden, to the trial, to the cross, to the tomb, and then risen from the tomb, changed everything for everyone forever.
Years ago, my wife and I went to see a Christian Music concert. In addition to the music, there was a message delivered by a nationally renowned author and evangelist. It was just about the same time The Passion of the Christ had been released. This man talked about the events leading up to Good Friday. His topic was simply this - the horror and beatings that Jesus took on that day are often under told during this weekend. I will use the evangelist's words with paraphrase - "Jesus was not only beat and tortured before being nailed to the cross, he was butchered". Yes, the most heinous way to kill a person was inflicted upon the One without one sin to deserve any of it.
Good Friday is often times a somber day - and it should be. For me, it is a day of remembrance of the price, the very extraordinary price, that was paid for my redemption. It is a time to not only reflect on how I am living my life, but also how I can do better. Day by day, do better. Walk in the path of the Savior. My life is now a gift, given to me by the events which led up to, and then ended on Golgotha.
One of our former pastors would tell the story once Jesus was taken from the cross to the tomb. First off, they made sure he was dead, and not just seriously wounded. The reason Jesus was pierced with a spear was to see if his blood has separated. The Bible tells of "blood and water" coming out of the wound. It is for that reason, the Roman soldiers did not need to break Jesus' legs. Because of the separation of the blood, they knew he was dead. In the tradition of Roman crucifixion, if death did not come soon enough, the soldiers were instructed to break the legs of the person on the cross. That would speed the process of suffocation.
Once taken to the tomb, a heavy rock was rolled in front. Guards were posted. The last thing the Romans wanted was for some of Jesus' followers to steal the body thereby offering credibility to the prophecy that Jesus would rise from the dead. No, they made sure that nobody could get in or out of the tomb.
On the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, the tomb was empty. The Romans did not understand how this happened, but they were committed to find the body and show people that Jesus was still in fact dead. They never did. Jesus appeared to many after he rose - in the twelve times he appeared after the resurrection, the Bible states he appeared to as many as 500. When Jesus was ready to ascend into Heaven, he gave those who saw Him the Great Commission. It was the beginning of the Christian Church.
This is the day. The day which in which my debt, along with every other person's debt was paid. It was day one of the three day journey which changed everything for everyone. It is truly Good Friday.