On Good Friday we celebrate the death of our Lord. He agonized on the cross – but He did it for us. That’s why it’s called Good Friday – because it was for our good.
As Isaiah closes his Song of the Suffering Servant, he tells of Christ’s wonderful victory, and then rehearses again how He did it. In Isaiah 53:12, he says, “And He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.”
The phrase, “He poured out Himself to death,” is particularly interesting as an explanation of His suffering. The word “poured out” is a Hebrew verb that means “to pour or empty.” But it is used in the Hiphil stem, which is a causative idea. In other words, it really says that He caused His soul to be poured out; He deliberately subjected Himself to death; He caused it to happen. Jesus did not die as a passive victim. He was an active participant in pouring out His own soul.
When Pilate condemned Jesus to death, I’m sure he thought he was the cause of what was about to happen. When the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross, I’m sure they thought they were the cause of Jesus’ demise. When the centurion thrust the spear into Jesus’ side, I’m sure he thought he was the one who determined Jesus’ death. But in John 10:17-18 Jesus said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” Jesus’ death was a voluntary death for the purpose of bearing our sin. This is Good Friday – not bad Friday. We celebrate – we don’t mourn, “…because He poured out His soul unto death.”
Say – Good Friday is followed by Easter, and that’s the best part of all!