(Note: taking a little side trip from my focus on grace, to explore Good Friday in this post.)
Why is Good Friday good?
Since Good Friday focuses on Jesus’ crucifixion and being marred beyond recognition, was God good that day?
After all, Jesus was smitten by God, and afflicted. (Is 53:4) In addition, Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46) More on this later.
Back to Good Friday.
Does God feel good about our Good Fridays?
If you recognize this day, does it make you feel good?
Have you ever realized how Religious Christianity uses Good Friday to heighten our guilt and condemnation?
Is this heaping on of guilt a part of how good God is?
I remember, years ago, participating in a Good Friday service where we had opportunity to literally hammer nails into a huge cross drug into the sanctuary. As we hammered away tears, sobs, remorse, guilt, condemnation freely flowed. There was a strange mixture of ‘what a wretch I am’ and thankfulness happening in ‘God’s house’ that evening.
Certainly nobody felt good that evening, with nail and hammer in hand. How about God? Did He feel good about that Good Friday and how it made us feel about ourselves? At the time, I would have poignantly responded, “Yes.”
Now I realize the true answer is a huge, “NO!”
Traditional Good Friday
Traditionally in the church system Good Friday is melancholy, sad, doleful, mournful, and introspective. The lights low, the cross draped in black, the message heavy, the music somber, and interaction minimal. It is time to be pensive, reflective, regretful.
Wonder if God is participating? In fact, I wonder if He thinks – “Here we go again. They still don’t get the good news.”
The truth of Good Friday
God did not smite Jesus, and afflict Him. The truth is, “we esteemed (considered, thought, reckoned) Him smitten by God…”. (Is 53:4 Emphasis mine) Do you see that? We thought that.
God did not forsake Jesus at the cross. Now, we think “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” means that God turned His back on Jesus because He could not look on sin. Once again our false understanding of who God really is. We overlook or are ignorant of these truths:
- “Indeed the hours is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (Jn 16:32)
- “I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:30)
- God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19) This is huge – Jesus wasn’t the only one on the cross!
Why then did Jesus cry out “why have You forsaken Me”? Remember, even though Jesus was God, He was also fully human. In His humanness He felt all of humanity’s pain and confusion. His cry was the cry of humanity – “Where are You God, don’t You care?” Jesus was expressing our lie. He was voicing our misunderstanding. God was always with Jesus, even on the cross. Even as God is always with us, even when we think He isn’t.
The fullness of Good Friday
- One died for all, therefore all died. (2Cor 5:14) Hey, that means, besides God the Father, we were also on the cross! Whoa!
- By one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many made righteous. (Rom 5:19) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
- By the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift of the one Man, Jesus, abounded to many. (Rom 5:15) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
- We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation – right on the cross! (Rom 5:11)
- Since God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself – God is pleading “be, reconciled”. (2Cor 5:20) In other words realize your redeemed true identity!
- For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)
Stop wallowing in guilt and condemnation. There is no condemnation in Jesus. He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it – make it whole. (Jn 3:17)
Turn up the lights. It’s time to shout and rejoice on Good Friday!
- Come into the revelation of the incredible joy that was happening on ‘Good Friday’. Discover certainty and fullness.
- Throw off that sackcloth, wash off those ashes. Stop believing lies about who religion says you are.
- Rejoice! Don’t wait for Resurrection Sunday. The joy started at the cross. God was very good on the true ‘Good Friday’ when He made you very good again. (Gn 1:27,31) Embrace the revelation of all this happy goodness!