WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT “GOOD FRIDAY”?
For many people Friday’s are the favorite day of their week. If you’re one of those folks who has a regular Monday-Friday job, it marks the end of the work week and the start of the weekend. Even those who work “odd shifts” often say the last day of their work week is their “Friday”. Though we often cram our weekends full with more activities than we can possibly do, leaving us exhausted when Monday morning rolls around, we still begin the new week looking forward to the next Friday when we can do it all over again. It’s all kind of a crazy cycle that revolves around getting to Friday each week!
While Fridays, in general, are a pretty “good thing”, there is only one that is called “Good Friday”. It’s called that because it marks the day that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, along with two thieves, on a lonely hill call Golgotha just outside of Jerusalem. You would be hard pressed to find a more excruciating way to die than crucifixion. Though favored by the Roman government, when you stop to consider how cruel this means of execution actually was, you wonder how anyone could describe the events that transpired that day as being “good”. Who could stand by and watch someone dying on a cross without getting squeamish or wanting the soldiers to put the poor victim out of their misery? If you could, you would be an ideal candidate to become a horror film producer.
“Good Friday” is not good just because of what happened on that cross…….because the cross without the empty tomb 3 days later is a symbol of defeat and the loss of hope. Jesus’ death on the cross would basically be meaningless if He had not risen from the dead on Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Christ brings meaning and purpose to His willingness to endure the physical torture of the cross and the rejection of His Father. Jesus took on the sins of the world, which resulted in His complete separation from everything that He had known before that day. He paid the horrible price for our sin on the cross that Friday and gave us hope for eternity by His resurrection on the following Sunday.
That all sounds pretty theological…..I mean, we really do believe all that stuff….but it sounds so “churchy”. Perhaps that’s because too often our head knowledge doesn’t really seem to sink into our hearts and daily routines. Trust me, going to church and speaking the church jargon isn’t ever going to get anybody into heaven! Creeds and Christian-eze are empty words without faith.
I think as Christians we need to slow down and realize what is “so good” about Good Friday. The God who created the universe loved us so much that He couldn’t stand the thought of us not being able to enjoy His heaven. The wall of sin was a huge obstacle to His plans for us because “God is holy and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). From the time of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, God has been in the business of restoring things back to “normal”.
In the Old Testament God gave us His law and provided a systems of sacrifices to illustrate the seriousness of sin and the method to restore the breech in our relationship with Him. The price had to be paid to satisfy the justice and holiness of God, enabling Him to once again have fellowship with His creation. Jesus came as the final and ultimate sacrifice under that system — the “lamb of God slain for the sins of the world”. Upon His death, the curtain in the temple that separated mankind from direct relationship with God on a one-to-one basis was torn in two, from top to the bottom. The price had been paid once and for all for the sins of mankind; now we could approach God’s throne in a personal way, asking for His forgiveness because of what Jesus did for us on that cross, and proven by His power over death on Easter morning.
When I stop to think about all that this really means, I’m astounded! Why would Jesus willingly go through all that He went through on that day for me? What possible motivation was so profound that He would endure the nails being pounded into His hands and feet? What type of man would trade places with me for sins that I committed? There’s only one possible explanation…..because He loved me that much!I’m the one that deserved to be punished for what I have done! I am not worthy to walk in His footsteps, to enter into His heaven, or to be the recipient of His gracious gift of mercy and forgiveness……..BUT I AM THE ONE WHO GETS TO DO SO…….AND SO ARE YOU! That Friday was truly a “good day” for me…..and for all mankind; ……a day we should never forget!
May I challenge you to not let Good Friday go “unnoticed” in your busy routine. Take some time to thank the One who gave His life for you. It’s a sobering thought to think about the events that took place on that lonely hill on a Friday some 2000 years ago. And while you’re thinking about that, remember, those events happened on Friday……. but Sunday was coming!
Putting the “Good” back in Good Friday!