God's will for Jesus Sacrifice
Why do they call Good Friday, good? What happened on this day so many years ago was horrific. An innocent man was crucified; hands and feet nailed to a cross, suffocating to death, while His haters mocked and jeered Him. Why do we celebrate this day?
The reason is that Jesus' death was not simple horrific, but also purposeful. At was all part of the sovereign plan of God.
Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
The suffering and death of Jesus was the fulfillment of the sacrificial plan of God. The Son of God must go to Jerusalem, He must be false condemned by religious leaders and die at the hand of sinful men. This was all done in order to finish the plan to save sinners.
Just like us, Peter did not quite understand why this would be a good plan. Peter believed that Jesus was the messiah sent from God, but he also was sure that the messiah would usher a new era for Israel and bring about restoration of the people of God. So when Jesus talks about suffering and death, Peter see some red flags.
Matthew 16:22-23 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
What Peter did not understand is that God had planned for all of this to take place, and that through the suffering of the savior he was bringing about the restoration of all creation. Peter's expectation was too small.
Peter Beheld it All
Interesting enough, of all the Disciples, Peter would witness Jesus' suffering and condemnation most intimately. Peter was in the garden when Jesus was betrayed and arrested. He was in the courtyard of the high priest when Jesus was accused and condemned; even catching Jesus' eye as he denied Him before the crowd.
Luke 22:61-62 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
We do not have record of where Peter was while Jesus was being crucified, but I find it hard to imagine he had wandered very far. He likely stood at a distance with the other who knew Jesus; sorrowful and distraught at the events they were witnessing.
Luke 23:49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Peter the Witness of Sovereign Salvation
All these things that Peter had beheld would come back to him as he also be held the Resurrection. On Easter morning, after he had run to the tomb and found it empty, he returned to the disciple in worshipful contemplation; doubtlessly pondering the meaning of all the events and remembering the words of Jesus.
Acts 2:22–24 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Demonstrated in the words Peter preached in Acts 2, is his understanding that all the punishment and suffering he had witnessed on Good Friday was part of the definite plan of God; accomplishing His purposeful salvation. Good Friday is indeed good, because of the sovereign plan of God.