The saving acts of God in Christ at the cross - paying for the sins of the world, purchasing salvation for all who would believe - happened in space, time, and history. On certain days. There was Good Friday. Culminating with Resurrection Sunday.
Good Friday started out looking bad. It was necessary. As He hung on the cross, suspended between heaven and hell; bearing the sins of His people, Christ cried out the words of Ps. 22:1 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” On the cross, Christ was meditating on Psalm 22. Written 100 years before Jesus died on the cross and centuries before crucifixion was even invented as a form of capital punishment.
There was separation. Why have you forsaken me? David said in Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” Yet Christ had to suffer the separation of our sin. It was a real sin-bearing that Jesus endured on the cross.
There was suffering. Psalm 22:1 continues, “far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.” A graphic Hebrew word, means roaring like a lion. Pain so great you scream in anguish. Crucifixion was meant to inflict the greatest amount of suffering without the relief of death. Yet, the spiritual suffering was worse. He bore mountains of sin upon His back, enduring an in-our-place vicarious death, for us.
Good Friday starts in seeming defeat, yet leads to victory on Resurrection Sunday. Christ’s separation and suffering led to the greatest victory imaginable.