Friday, April 2, 2010

Why do we call today "Good" Friday?

Today, Christians around the world from various backgrounds, cultures, and ethnic groups, "celebrate" this day as Good Friday. Have you ever wondered why we refer to this day as "good" Friday? What could possibly be considered good about an innocent man being put to death by a Roman torture mechanism?

Think about it for a moment...what is the worst possible event that could ever happen? There are many tragic events in the history of the world: natural disasters, wars, genocide, disease. Yet nothing compares to what happened on that day when humans, the very creation of God and made in his image, exerted the most substantial act of pride by turning on their very Creator. We killed the son of God. That's right, you and I, not just a small group of people almost 2000 years ago. Jesus was put to death to satisfy the wrath of God because you and I are sinners. We are rebels, thieves, liars, drunkards, prideful, selfish, arrogant, and all out "evil-doers." The innocent lamb of God was slain. This is the worst possible thing that could ever happen.

And yet, in some mysterious way this is also the best possible thing that could ever happen. This event made a way for sinful humanity to be restored to a relationship with God. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. He went to our trial and pled guilty for us when we were the law breakers. Some people find this troubling, thinking that God is a mean judge for killing his own son. The thing is, we have to understand that this was God's plan from the beginning. This is not God's plan B.

This is one of the beautiful things about the Old Testament Scriptures. The OT reveals that the events of Good Friday were God's plan from the beginning. In Genesis 12, God promises Abraham that through his descendants "all peoples on the earth will be blessed." This was accomplished most fully in the death of Christ on the cross. God's love was poured out to humanity on the cross not because God is "mean" but because God is both just and merciful. His justice would not allow us to remain in our current state. His mercy made a way for all to be redeemed and come to him.

Our God is so amazing that he took the worst possible event in history and made it the best possible. This is the reason we call this day Good Friday. It is good news for us because we are ALL sinners in need of a Savior. He came to earth, lived among us, and died for us on that beautiful scandalous cross. On Sunday, we will celebrate Easter, but we cannot get to Easter without first visiting the cross.

Finally, it is important to point out that the grace of the cross is not automatically applied to all of humanity. Our part is to understand the gospel and place our faith in Christ alone for our salvation. We must come to God, admit that we are a sinner, and place our faith in the redeeming work of God through Jesus Christ's death on the cross. This is God's grace. This is the gospel. This is the Good News of Good Friday. There is no other way. You cannot be good enough, you cannot earn it, you cannot find your own path to God. The pride of the human heart finds this difficult to accept, but we must come to God in humility and come to him on his terms. He is God and we are not.

If you have already trusted in Christ for your salvation, return to the cross today and remember what God has done for you. Allow the grace of God displayed on the cross to overwhelm your soul. Ask for God to grant you boldness to share the gospel with others.

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