by Leslie Ann Jones April 01, 2021
It's a contradiction, really, to speak of Good Friday as good. It is, after all, the day that Jesus died, and we don't usually think of death as a good thing. When's the last time you saw someone jumping for joy after a loved one died? Probably never.
When it comes to Easter, we sing songs about the resurrection and proclaim gladly, "Up from the Grave He Arose!" because that's what happened. That's the end of the story. But in order for the resurrection to be possible, first the death had to occur.
There's a story in Luke 24 about a couple of Jesus' followers. They were headed home from Jerusalem after witnessing the death of their beloved teacher, and as they walked, their grief was palpable. When a stranger on the road asked why they were so sad, they told him about Jesus and said, "We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel."
Did you catch that? They said that they had hoped. Past tense. Their hope died with him on Friday morning. The grief and shock had to have been unbearable. Their fearless leader, the one that they had walked with and listened to and laughed with and sat beside and eaten with and believed in and hoped for had died.
And for that unimaginable loss, they grieved. They cried. They mourned.
Don't miss the awful reality of the story that we know by heart: in the span of a few hours one Friday morning roughly 2,000 years ago, God himself breathed his last.
Those of us who believe know that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, but sometimes we forget just how human he really was. He was born and grew and changed and lived and breathed and died just like the rest of us.
But even though we know he was human like us, death is the last thing we expect to happen to him, because we also know that his deity made him unlike us in more ways than we can count. When you really think about it, what happens on the cross that day is the most shocking part of the story. He could have called down legions of angels and waged war on his accusers, but he didn't. Instead, he chose to die.
Jesus knew that his death was necessary to cancel out all that is ugly, evil, broken, and wrong in this world. So he did what he had to do to save save us. He took up every last bit of our sin, carried it to the cross with him, and canceled it all out with his blood, thus satisfying the wrath of God against sin once and for all.
And that's why we call that Friday good. Because on that day, God offered himself up as the purest and most perfect of sacrifices, the only one that would do. And it is by his sacrifice that we are healed, purified, and finally and forever able to draw near to him.
And that, sweet friends, is a good thing.
"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
🙌🏻 Leslie Ann
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