What’s So Good About Good Friday?

Think about it. There is a reason we call this “Good Friday”. To understand that reason, there are some things of which we need to remind ourselves.

First, think of what happened on that Friday nearly 2,000 ago. A just and perfect man, who was God in the flesh dwelling among the very people He had chosen as His own, was not recognized by most of them, and was enthusiastically crucified to silence Him.

Second, think of what crucifixion was. It was the most horrible and painful way to kill a person, and meant to be used for the worst of criminals. The Father allowed Jesus to suffer illness (“sweating great drops of blood”, as Scripture says), and Jesus’ reaction was to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane that the Father would give Him the strength to make it to the cross, asking that the Father take away that cup of illness from Him. Jesus was arrested, betrayed, beaten, the skin on his back torn off piece by tiny piece with the whip. The whip used had small pieces of bone that dug in under the skin, and tore away not only chunks of skin but also underlying fat and tissue. By the time Jesus was nailed to the cross, he had suffered tremendous blood loss, and hours of excruciating pain. He was nailed to the cross so that He would slowly, and painfully, suffocate. And in the greatest pain of them all, He who knew no sin, voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of all people who ever lived, which separated Him from the Father (Lord, Lord, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”).

Third, think what the word “Gospel” means. It means “good news that follows bad news.” The bad news for us is that every single one of us, by virtue of making choices against God’s will sometime (many times?) during our lives, has chosen an eternity in Hell rather than Heaven. We are all, by our own rebellious actions and thoughts, condemned to Hell without hope. There is no appeal. OK, that was the bad news.

The Good News is that the One who created us – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Great I AM – knew before time began that we would choose that path. He loves us so much, that He was willing to pay the price for our sins so we would not have to. God chose to come into this created world in flesh and blood as 100% man, yet remain 100% God, so that He could be the perfect, once and for all, sacrifice for us so that when He calls us, we can come to Him in Christ’s righteousness (not our own) and be adopted into His family as adopted sons and daughters.

Paraphrasing a preacher of long ago, you and I are only separated from being in Hell right now by the thin thread of His grace. It is indeed Good News that we are spared from that danger, indeed from God’s wrath, by what Christ did on Good Friday, and His victory on Easter morning. That makes me happy.

The unimaginably horrible death of the one and only perfect human being is good – it was God’s will and His choice to do so, and our one and only hope to an eternal life apart from what we deserve. As my Sunday School teacher is fond of saying, the question is not “Why does God allow anyone to go to Hell?”, but “Why does God allow anyone to go to Heaven?” The answer to the latter question is why Good Friday is so good.

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