When we think of Good Friday, we think of the torture, agony and punishment of Jesus. How can the cross, such an instrument of pain, suffering, and death, be something good? How can we call Good Friday good? Why don't we call it Bad Friday instead? Or Dark Friday, or Black Friday (instead of the black Friday shopping day that comes after Thanksgiving)? Wouldn't something like Bad Friday be a more representative title than Good Friday? Or would it?
The more we mature, spiritually, the more we begin to see that, although the cross is a terrible thing, it is incredible good news for us. As Christ followers, perhaps the "good" in Good Friday, really stands for Good News - good news for us! It's the good news of the Gospel message - that Christ came to earth, died for our sins, was buried yet rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and is coming back again. And because Jesus willfully died on the cross, symbolically in our place, as the sacrifice for our sins, we are forgiven! And through the sacrificial death of Jesus, we are reconciled to God, and made right with Him. Now, isn't that good news?
So although the means of our forgiveness, the cross, is brutal, the outcome is victorious. This instrument of death reveals and fulfills the grace, mercy, and love of God for us. That, friends, is good news.
Although I'm sure we can come up with more, below are 7 reasons why Good Friday is Good.
1. The day draws the world's attention to Jesus.
Good Friday is set apart by millions and millions as a day of remembrance. This day which commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross is a day of focus - maybe not a day of celebration - but a day of reflection on what Jesus did for us. It serves as a reminder, a rally point, a memorial. To believers and non-believers alike, Good Friday is about no one else but Jesus.
2. The day magnifies the symbol of Christianity - the cross.
Look what's on the top of a steeple on a Christian church - it's a cross. Look what's inside a Christian church - you'll see a cross. Look what's around the neck of countless Christians - a cross. When you think of Good Friday, you think of the cross, the symbol of Christianity. And the cross is a powerful reminder of what Jesus did.
3. The day rallies Christians all over the world
Whether it's a small country church or a large mega-church, Good Friday is something all Christian churches recognize. Whether it's a Christian church in America or in Africa, we are all united in our focus on the cross. It's a rally point, and something we all have in common as Christians.
4. The day reminds us that Jesus loves us.
Good Friday marks the day that Jesus died. He allowed himself to be crucified. He could have called upon the angels of heaven to rescue Him at any time, but instead choose to fulfill his mission - to offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He did so out of love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) For our sake, Jesus was faithful to His mission. And the motivation was love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
5. The day reminds us that we are redeemed.
The dictionary definition of the word redeem: To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum. The Apostle Paul said, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." (Galatians 4:4-5) In other words, Jesus paid the price of our salvation. The price?...His life. In a sense, He purchased us with His own blood. We are now therefore one of His. "Through the cross we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace." (Ephesians 1:7)
6. The day reminds us that we are reconciled to God.
Without the cross, we cannot be made right with God. We are reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus. To be reconciled means to reestablish a close relationship, to be in harmony, in balance. This describes the relationship we can now have with God because of the cross of Jesus. More than religious customs and rituals, God desires a loving father/child relationship with us. That can now happen because of the cross.
7. The day points us to the Resurrection.
There is something more powerful, more culminating, more climactic than even the cross - it’s the Resurrection. You see, if there was no Resurrection, then Jesus is defeated - and death wins. If there is no Resurrection, then His death on the cross is in vain - if there is no Resurrection, then Jesus is not who He says He is. The Apostle Paul said this, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)
“But thanks be to God! He WAS raised to life! And this gives us the victory! - victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, the cross was not in vain. And because Jesus was raised from the dead, and was victorious over death, then we are raised from the dead also - to have eternal life with the Lord our God forever and ever.
On Good Friday, we commemorate the suffering of Jesus - His substitutionary death on the cross. And even though we reflect on such a gruesome event on a Friday, remember one thing...SUNDAY’S COMING!