This is an important weekend. Today is Good Friday, commemorating the Cross of Christ and Sunday is Easter marking his resurrection. Don’t be tempted by the candy and Spring decoration, dive into the significance of a Savior that would die for you and defeat death in his resurrection.
We start with why we call today Good, then on to sticking with what we are meant for in the Church, and a big finish with a nap.
David Mathis wrote a piece a couple of years ago for Desiring God about the goodness of this Friday. How we can call the worst day of history Good.
God was at work, doing his greatest good in our most horrible evil. Over and in and beneath the spiraling evil of Judas, the Jewish leaders, Pilate, the people, and all forgiven sinners, God’s hand is steady, never to blame for evil, ever working it for our final good. As Peter would soon preach, Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”
Read for yourself and be reminded.
Next up is Trevin Wax’s talk from the Gospel Coalition conference this year. In it Wax invites us back to Orthodoxy. Where there is temptation toward other things, the main thing is the best thing. It is thrilling even.
We live in an age that resists authority, dogma, and institutions. Those who challenge historic doctrines and practices are seen as heroic and courageous, as if there is something inherently attractive and exciting in being heterodox. To defend the faith, we must not merely rely on rational arguments in favor of orthodoxy but also display the beauty and power of Christian truth in a way that makes the appeal of heresy pale in comparison.
And finally, take a nap. It’s science. Napping is good for you and will make you more productive and an all around nicer person. So plan for it, add a nap to your routine and see the benefits!
Today is Good. That is what we call it. Not because in some places we get the day off. Or because it represents the last Friday you can’t eat meat…(what is that about anyway!) And not because it is the first Friday of Spring this year. It is the day we reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. For some a historical figure. For some, Savior.
For those of us who claim him as Savior, this day is good because it was the burden we carried that was shouldered by Jesus before a council of the religious and a judgment of the oppressors. His death sentence was something we earned for sin and corruption since that early day in the garden when our first parents chose disobedience and since the earliest days of our own lives when we lived out our inherited sinfulness.
And upon that cross it all was lifted. He who knew no sin became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus hung on the cross with the full weight of us bearing down on him. The pain. The mocking. And the abandonment he experience from the Father who had turned away his face from the One who had become sin for us. An eternal relationship, severed.
I see the weight of all of that every day I look in the mirror. Every moment when I view my need and sinfulness rightly. The filth of my condemnation before Christ. We can take it for granted, what forgiveness costed. But it is days like this one that we call good when we can reflect anew on the self-seeking wretchedness of me and you that Jesus willingly took on to solve the problem of sin and reconcile a people to himself.
Darkness fell that day. All of creation witnessed to the separation taking place. How could there be light at a time like this. Heavy. Painful. Effective. Then the declaration with a loud, death-shattering voice, “It is finished!”
And it was. For you. Once for all. Jesus’ life for yours. His blood for your covering. His record for your righteousness.
This is what is good. Live in this goodness today.
This Friday is Good. It is good and holy because it represents the day that Jesus Christ was convicted and put to death some 2000 years ago. This was God, come as a man, to proclaim the kingdom of his reign and heal brokenness. Perhaps most importantly, his sacrifice on the cross served as a lasting and final atonement for the sins of humanity, specifically and personally for those he has chosen to know him.
This moment – when the words “it is finished” were spoken from the lips of Jesus – changed everything. Hope was truly ignited on this day. Those that believe in Christ live for and with the hope or our eternal reward of dwelling with Jesus. In perfect peace, without pain and sin and death. We don’t do it perfectly, we never could, but we should live to share the grace that has been granted to us from this good day to our days.
Because today is Good; because the first Good Friday was a holy day, each day for us in Christ is now good. They might be hard and at times painful. We may be assaulted by the reality of brokenness and sin when we walk through the streets of darkness. We may suffer under the weight of our culture and standing for what is right. But in all of it, it will be good. And we trust in the hope that Christ has granted us. Today is good.
Be blessed on this good day.
I have the honor of preaching a Good Friday message on the life and death of Christ and the waiting that comes before Easter. If you are in the Tri-Cities you should join us April 6 at 5:30 or 7pm.