Friday, April 2, 2010

Is Good Friday Good?

By Matt Tyler

Earlier this week I got a call from a couple of my family members. These family members are on the side of my family who are not Christians. They had somehow gotten into a discussion about Easter, which ultimately led to Jesus' resurrection. Surprisingly one of them did not know the True meaning of Easter. This caused them to call me so that I could explain it to them. One of the questions that stuck out to me during this conversation had to do with Good Friday. The question was this: If Good Friday was the day that Jesus died, why do people call it "Good" Friday?

That was an excellent question and was a perfect opportunity for me to be able to share the Gospel. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, experienced the most horrific death in the history of the World. He faced excruciating beatings and torture. A crown of long, thick, sharp thorns was thrust onto His skull. His legs and arms were nailed to a cross in which he faced painful hours of slow suffocation. We've all read the stories that attempt to give us a picture of the kind of death Jesus faced. And for those of us who have been Christians for any length of time we have heard Pastors, teachers, and fellow believers explain that the most difficult part wasn't necessarily the physical nature of Jesus' painful death. Rather, Jesus, the perfect lamb, bore our sins in His body and thus experienced broken fellowship from His Father. God the Father poured out the full fury of His wrath upon Jesus Christ as punishment for our sins.

So what is 'good' about that? Many in the world would not see this as good at all. In fact, many take the stance that this is a form of "cosmic child abuse," to quote Steve Chalke's famous line. Indeed, even among professed Christians, some would argue that this message of the Cross is "harsh" and, therefore, they choose to take the focus off of the cross altogether.

On one hand the message of the cross is very harsh. The Cross shows us how serious our sin is. Our sin results in death and hell. In order to be redeemed and have our sins forgiven, we need God to step in and take our place and punishment. We needed Jesus to be our ransom! Apparently, it was so harsh that it caused Jesus to be in such agony that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Moreover, Jesus tells the disciples that this will be a time of great suffering for Him (Luke 22:15).

On the other hand the message of the cross is very good. In fact, it is the harshness of the cross, that makes Good Friday so good. It was Jesus Christ alone and the work that He alone did that bought us forgiveness of sins and Eternal life. No one else could have done this! Wayne Grudem explains the necessity of Jesus' suffering on the cross, "If Jesus was going to accomplish the work that the Father sent him to do, and if people were going to be redeemed for God, it was necessary for him to die on the cross." Luke says something similar in his Gospel: "was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory (Luke 24:26)?"

We take this for granted, so please understand this: There was no other way for God to save us than for Christ to die in our place. It is only the blood of Christ that would be able to really take away our sins (Hebrews 9:25-26). The harsh truth of the matter is that sin must be punished. One of the penalties for our sins is suffering. Christ took that suffering upon Himself. Think of the pain he must have felt from the pure agony of the cross. Now multiply that with the realization that Jesus was perfect and therefore hated sin with his entire being- and yet he bore our sins. Add to this the fact that He was abandoned by friends( Mathew 26:56) and even God (Matthew 27:46). Once again multiply this by the fact that He bore the wrath of God upon Himself. Grudem, again, helps explain this, "Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin that God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the World."

I could go on. The point is this: Good Friday is good because it is in the death of Christ that we find the only way to be reconciled to God, forgiven of our sins, and Eternal Life. We deserve eternal torment in Hell as penalty for our sins. But God has made the only way for us to be forgiven, when we repent and trust in Christ, and it is all because of that Friday 2,000 years ago. You've heard this before, but don't miss it. That is not good news. That is spectacular, wonderful, amazing (I don't have the words) news. Let's rename Good Friday. It is now called Spectacular, Wonderful, Amazing Friday.

I have posted this song on here before, but I am going to do it again. It is powerful.

The Power of the Cross
By Keith and Kristyn Getty

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.


On a slightly different note: Preach the WORD this weekend. Tell people what Good Friday and Easter are truly about!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post my friend. I love how you emphasized the seriousness of the cross and the importance of the Atonement. Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts and, more importantly, the Truth. Let us remember the cross today and our total and complete dependance on it. Let us also be forever thankful.


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