What’s So Good About Good Friday?
Good Friday is an important Christian day that commemorates the crucification of Jesus and his death on Calvary. It is celebrated in Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also called Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday as well as Black Friday.
Good Friday is here and gone. However, I do take the time to think about the events that took place thousands of years ago. It was the day Jesus took on our behalf. It’s a very good day. It’s great that we can be thankful for what Jesus sacrificed for our sakes. Oh, the suffering he was forced to go through! I’m thinking Jesus probably didn’t think it was an enjoyable Friday.
Imagine a scenario where you waited for your death, knowing it was imminent, and how painful it will be. Imagine that your father was not looking at you and leaving you completely and completely isolated. Jesus asked the Father for a new method of completing what was needed to be accomplished. To some, this could seem like Jesus was weak, but I think it shows us that, even although Jesus is a fully God He was human. Who is willing to endure pain that is unbearable? What kind of human would like to be completely completely alone?
In the night prior to when Jesus was executed He sat in the Garden in Gethsemane with his followers. He wanted to be with his followers because they wanted to pray with him however, they went to sleep. If I were there, I would have wanted to be able to pray with Jesus and remain close to him. I’d like to offer Jesus some sort of comfort, and offer my presence and friendship. I’d like to suggest”if only” Jesus I would assist Jesus. But the reality is, I’d be no better than Jesus’s followers. They were exhausted and exhausted by emotions. I am sure I wouldn’t be able to cope with the intensely emotional night, the fear of the darkest worry, the loneliness. Yes I’d wish to claim that I would ease the pain of Jesus but I’d just worry.
How did Jesus manage to get through such a dark night? The only way to answer that is because Jesus is God and therefore, he is able to achieve whatever. I’m not sure what it was that made Jesus was able to cross the line and then go on to die. He could have escaped. He could have found a method to achieve what he had to accomplish. God can accomplish everything! But, he didn’t.
If I were Jesus on that day I’m pretty sure that I would have fled the scene terrified of the soldiers who would arrest me. I would probably have hidden as a coward. I’m sure I could not have seen Jesus crucified. This makes me appear like a bad Christian to speak these words, but there’s no hiding from the truth: I could have been a failure. Anyone of us could be in the same position as the disciples who were unable to keep Jesus company on that night. Fear could have run into our veins as we watched Jesus feet and hands being tied to the cross. The same way fear led Peter to refuse to believe in Christ three times that day, or led Thomas to doubt the resurrection of Christ.
It’s amazing to think Jesus knew the result of his suffering and pain. His motive that he was trying to help us all, however we have all rejected the gift that was given to us. We often overlook his amazing sacrifice. We often forget the deep love he has for us. This is the essence of Easter! Jesus offered everything we could enjoy everything, and he did it in spite of the suffering and pain was his experience. He was disapproved of by his Father however, he chose to do it regardless. Therefore, take some time to think about why it is Good Friday and keep in mind the reason it’s a good thing!
It brings back memories to an older Bill Gaither song-
God gave His son to earth, they dubbed him Jesus;
He was able to heal, love, and forgive
He lived and died to purchase my pardon.
An empty grave is to prove that my Savior is alive!
Because He is alive I am able to face the future,
Since He is alive and reigns, fear has no place;
Since I am sure He has the future.
The life is worth living simply because He lives!
That , dear readers is the Gospel message: Jesus died, but now Jesus is still alive! But He didn’t die alone. He carried our grievances, our sins and our sorrows to the cross and to the grave , and they all perished alongside Him. Since all of those things were buried with Him, we can be forgiven with freedom to lead the lifestyle that God always intended for us to live. This is what makes Good Friday so good.
In my non-liturgical tradition of church that includes a “church calendar” is a schedule of meetings for youth groups as well as birthdays of members and birthdays, not a traditional calendar of holidays and days. However, I’ve learned that numerous varieties of Christianity over the years have utilized liturgical times to keep people connected to the reality of both death and life in the Christian faith.
Moving through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Passiontide, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and then back to “ordinary time” to Advent again, Christians are reminded that suffering is a natural aspect of life for all humans but, even more importantly is that God always seeks to redeem the suffering of his people by his power of resurrection. I’m only beginning to realize how beneficial the church calendar can be in resetting my expectations and reorienting them.