By Julian Mann
We will not understand the true meaning and significance of Good Friday without the Bible. And that is not just because we have the story, the narrative of Jesus’ death on the cross, in the four New Testament Gospels, which are in the Bible. That is certainly true and very important. But we won’t understand Good Friday with the Gospels in isolation.
We need the Old Testament Scriptures and indeed the rest of the New Testament if we are to grasp what Good Friday means for us. Indeed, we should have noticed as we listened to the account of Jesus’ crucifixion in chapter 19 of John’s Gospel that the Apostle John says three times that something happened to Jesus in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
The Scripture John refers to is the Old Testament Scripture. Jesus’ robe was not torn by the Roman soldiers in order to fulfil Psalm 22, a psalm about the sufferings of the King of Israel. Jesus’ bones were not broken in order to fulfil Exodus 12v46, which was originally a command to the people of Israel not to break the bones of the Passover lamb. And Jesus’ side was pierced, John tells us, in order to fulfil Zechariah 12v10, which was originally about the suffering of God’s chosen Shepherd or leader of his people. All these prophecies are coming true in Jesus, the God-anointed King of Israel, the Christ, the chosen leader of God’s people, and the Lamb of God sacrificed to save God’s people from his judgement.
God is ordering the events of the crucifixion, things happening, things not happening in order to fulfil the Scripture, in order to make Old Testament predictions come true in Jesus.