Whatever your belief about Jesus, there is one part of the story that lies so much at the core, people tend to accept it without really thinking about it. Jesus died for sin, as it says in 1 Peter 3:18 - "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God."
It's an awe-inspiring truth considering who Jesus is. According to Scripture,
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him
- All things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him.
- And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
- And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Jesus is not only our Creator-God, but has become part of creation. The fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Jesus, and to reconcile all things to himself through him. The implication is that God himself became part of this fallen world in order to reconcile what was already his to himself.
Basically, humanity fell so far, we became subject to eternal punishment. We came to the place where the Holy and Perfect God of the universe Judged us unworthy of bearing his image, and deserving of his eternal wrath in hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' - Mark 9:48 (ESV). We bristle at such punishment for all eternity, because we see it as so harsh for some people who don't seem to have done anything quite deserving of such awful punishment.
But that's just it. It's not about the harshness of the punishment. It's about the heinous nature of our sin. It's a critique of humanity, and in fact, a critique of me. And you. God considers you to have gone so horribly wrong that you deserve such heinous punishment. In fact, In exacting such punishment, God maintains his holiness in this righteous judgment.
It is a devastating critique of each one of us.
But God is not only Righteous and Just. He is also Loving and Merciful. So we see, in Colossians 1:20, that God was not only willing, but pleased to send his Son Jesus, and through him to reconcile us to himself, by making peace with us by the blood of his cross.
Jesus took our punishment. That's the story of Good Friday. We deserved the harshest punishment anyone could imagine, and that punishment was absolutely right. But God loved us, and took the punishment in the person of Jesus in our place.
The Good of Good Friday is God.