Oh Happy Day! (The Most Exciting and Eventful Week in History, Part 6)

Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 27:11-54, and let us read together:
 11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

PART ONE

PART TWO

 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

 32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

 33And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

 34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

 36 And sitting down they watched him there;

 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

 39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
PRAYER
Today, we come to part six of our week-long series titled “The Most Exciting and Eventful Week in History”. Today
has often been referred to as “Good Friday.” It is the day when Jesus Christ was crucified over 2,000 years ago. If you ask anybody what the most important day in the history of the world is, you may get various answers. But against the backdrop of the rise and fall, the flow and ebb, the triumph and tragedy of human history, this day stands out above all others. 
My message today is titled “O Happy Day”. Now, you may be wondering, ‘What can be happy about this day?’ ‘What can be good about this day?’ This is a day when an innocent man was condemned to die. This is a day of agony and anguish, a day of trouble and tragedy, a day of darkness and death. This is a day when the perfect Son of God was cast aside by his own people — the people he loved infinitely — the people who chose a criminal instead of their Creator, a public enemy instead of the perfect Son of God. This is a day when a crown of thorns was crushed against the head of the King of the World. This is a day when whips drew blood from the back of the very one who holds life in his hands. What is good about this day? Why is this a happy day? 
This day is a happy day because this is the day that Jesus Christ became the lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world so that everyone who believes on Him can be saved. That is why we call it “Good Friday” – a happy day. An old hymn comes to mind right now. Allow me to read a few lines to you:
O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.
‘Tis done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.
My friend, today, I’m going to give you three reasons why this Good Friday is a happy day. But first, let’s get up to speed from where we last left off in the Passion Week story. 
Yesterday, we saw Jesus Christ on trial at the high priest’s palace. We saw Peter deny that he even knew Jesus Christ. Based upon the Biblical record, we know that sometime around 6 AM on Friday morning Jesus Christ had already been condemned by the high priests and the Jewish religious council, the Sanhedrin. Between the hours of six and eight AM, Jesus Christ is put on trial before Pontius Pilate. When Pilate finds out that Jesus is from Nazareth, he sends him to Herod who was the ruler of that region. Herod however is not interested in putting Jesus on trial, he just wants to see Jesus perform some miracles. When Jesus does not do so, Herod dresses Jesus in a purple robe and sends him back to Pilate. 
Pilate, now, is forced to deal with Jesus. After examining Jesus, Pilate determines that he is innocent and that the Jews had delivered him for “envy” or hatred. Pilate had a tradition that he would release a criminal to the Jews at each Passover. So, seeing that they were in the Passover season, Pilate was betting that the common people — the Bible calls it a “multitude” who had gathered to watch the trial — would call out for Jesus’ release. This was an easy way out. However, the Jewish chief priests and the members of the Sanhedrin stirred up the crowd to call for Barabbas — a robber and a murderer — to be released. 
While Pilate is sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sends a message to him saying “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.” Here again we see it was a woman — and this time a Gentile woman — who was standing by Jesus in his darkest hours. 
Over and over, Pilate tries to reason with the Jews. But they cry out louder and louder, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate decides to send Jesus away to be flogged. After the flogging, they drape Jesus in a purple robe and send him back to Pilate, where once again, Pilate attempts to get him freed because he had simply done no wrong.
Seeing that their plan is about to fail, the Jews brought up the real accusation they had on their minds. They tell Pilate, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” The reason why they did not tell Pilate this at first is because Pilate would have been under no pressure to enforce Jewish religious laws. However, this statement does have an effect on Pilate. The authors of “The Fourfold Gospel”, J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton, tell us that Greek and Roman mythology are replete with stories of gods coming from heaven and walking on earth as humans. These gods also have a habit of rewarding those who treated them well and cursing those who despised them. So, when Pilate hears that Jesus called himself the Son of God, he takes Jesus in for further questioning. 
After another round of questioning, Pilate brings Jesus back out to the crowd, still trying to release him.  The Jewish lynch mob decides to play politics now. They tell Pilate, ‘If you don’t crucify him, you are not a friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be king is an enemy of Caesar.’ The Bible says the “chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude” to demand Jesus’ crucifixion. When Pilate sees that he is getting nowhere, he makes the politically convenient choice. He can tell a riot is about to break out, and with at least over one million Jews in Jerusalem and probably only a thousand Roman soldiers, that would not be a good situation for him, especially if word got back to Rome. (How many politicians have we seen who make convenient choices instead of standing up for what they know is right?)
Pilate washes his hands in a basin of water indicating his innocence, and now we come to one of the saddest parts of the Passion story. After Pilate symbolically washes his hands of innocent blood, the Jews cry out “His blood be on us, and on our children.” 
Now, Christ is handed over to the Roman soldiers, and he is led up to Golgotha to be crucified. This is what happened on Good Friday. This is the day Christ hung from a cruel cross between two criminals, crucified on a hill called Golgotha — “The Place of a Skull” crushed by the weight of the sin of mankind. 
Now, I want to call your attention back to our passage for today — Matthew 27:32-54 — and I want to show you three reasons why Good Friday is a Happy day, 
I. Good Friday Is a Happy Day because Jesus Death Was for All People
Allow me to call your attention to verses 19 and 20 of John chapter 19. This is John’s account of Good Friday. This verse reads: “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.”
I want you to notice the words “Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.” These languages encompass all of the people living in the then known world.  Latin was the legal and official language of the Roman Empire. Hebrew was the language of the Jews. And Greek was the language of the common people. 
This simple aspect of Jesus’ crucifixion shows us that Jesus Christ died for all men and women. As George McLeod wrote, the cross was raised “at
the center of the marketplace. Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble.” That is where He died.
Jesus died for every man. He said in John 12:32, “if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” Now, here is a reason Good Friday is a happy day. Aren’t you glad he didn’t say he would draw just white men, or black men, or indian men? Aren’t you glad he didn’t say he would draw just rich men, or powerful men, or successful men? .” Aren’t you glad Jesus said he would draw the ordinary and the outcast, the sick and the sinner, the last and the “least of these”? Aren’t you glad Jesus said he would draw all men unto him? That’s a good reason this is a happy day.
II. Good Friday Is a Happy Day because God forsook Jesus so he would not have to forsake us. 
Let’s go back to our text in Matthew. Take a look at verse 46: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” While Jesus was hanging on the cross, with all the sins of all the people of all the world on his shoulders, God had to turn his back. The Bible says “God cannot look upon sin” and that Jesus “became sin for us.” God poured out the wrath that was due us for our sins on Jesus Christ while he was on the cross. 
Because all of our awful sins were placed on Jesus, God had to forsake his only Son. He had to turn his back. He had to let the full wrath, the complete punishment, be poured out on Jesus Christ.
When people talk about Hell, you have probably heard the phrase that part of hell is “eternal separation from God.” That’s what happened to Jesus Christ on the cross. He became separated from God the Father because He had become our sin. Jesus took our hell and paid our sin debt. In so doing, he was forsaken by the Father while he was on the cross. 
While it is an awful thing to think about, this is actually another reason to be happy about Good Friday. God forsook Jesus Christ on the cross so he would not have to forsake us for all of eternity. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, we would be cut off from God forever. That’s another reason Good Friday is a happy day.
III. Good Friday Is a Happy Day because Jesus’ death reunited us with God.
Notice, with me verses 51 and 52 of our text in Matthew. “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” Pay close attention to the statement which says the “veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom”. For centuries, the veil of the Temple signified God’s separation from mankind. It signified God’s holiness and man’s unholiness. Man was unable to approach God because he was sinful and God was righteous. 
However, when Jesus died, the tearing of the veil signified that by His death, Jesus Christ was opening a way to God. God and man do not have to be separate anymore. There is no more division between those who go through Jesus Christ to get to God. We don’t have to go through a high priest or a Catholic priest. We don’t have to do this ritual or that ritual. We don’t have to get down on our knees and pray five times a day facing the East. Through Jesus Christ, we can get to God!
I love what George Whitefield said, “Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.”
That’s another reason Good Friday is a Happy Day. 
Good Friday is a happy day because Jesus Christ suffered, bled and died so we would not have to. 
Over 2,000 years ago, this Good Friday event shook the world to its core — the day Jesus died. The Bible tells us that it was the darkest Friday ever. The veil in the Temple ripped in two. The rocks burst and groaned in agony. There was an earthquake. Thick darkness covered the earth for hours. Dead saints came out of their graves. God Almighty turned His back on His dying Son. 
On this Good Friday, the hellish punishment for all the sins of all the men of all the world was poured out on the Son of God. He was paying the price — the full price — for everything every one of us has ever done wrong. On that Good Friday, Jesus gave His all for us. And Good Friday is a happy day because of it!
We didn’t deserve it — wretched, undone, sinful creatures that we are. No, we didn’t deserve it.  But still Jesus gave his life for us. And Good Friday is a happy day because of it!
It wasn’t fair to kill an innocent man. But Jesus still went to the cross — because it was the only way we could be saved. And Good Friday is a happy day because of it!
If you have never accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ’s salvation, today can be a happy day for you. All you have to do to be delivered from your sin and the eternal punishment of sin is accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Allow me to share with you from God’s Word how you can do that right now..
John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  
“For God so loved the world” means that if you are in the world, God loves you. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you have done, God loves you. 
God loves you more than you love yourself. He loves you so much so “that He gave His only begotten Son.” His only begotten son is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and for mine, He was buried, and on the third day, He rose from the dead.
“that whosoever believeth in Him”, whosoever means anybody of any race, any color, any belief system, or any socio-economic status can believe on Jesus Christ.
“should not perish, but have everlasting life.” if you believe on Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you will not perish in hell, instead you will have everlasting life in heaven with God. 
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.  
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of seventeen books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, and the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com.

Song: “Near The Cross”
Album: Hattie B’s Daughter
Artist: Dorothy Norwood

 

 

 

Song: “Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus”
Album: How He Loves (Radio Edit)
Artist: David Crowder*Band