Why is Good Friday Good?
Why is Good Friday "good"? We remember the beating and killing of Jesus on Good Friday. What could possibly be good about that? Many things could be said. Here are a few things to consider:
Yes, Jesus was beaten and killed. And that's good... for his people. It's good for his people because in his death he bore "our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Is.53:4). He was stricken, but that's good... for his people. It's good for us because he was wounded for us. He was crushed for us. He was chastised for us. He was stricken and wounded and crushed and chastised for us - that is, for our sins (Is.53:4-6). God the Father "laid on him the iniquity of us all" so that there might be peace between us and him (Is.53:5-6, Ro.5:1). If you believe that you are sinful and deserve the death that Jesus died, then the fact that Jesus stood in your place to bear it for you is really good news. If you don't believe you are sinful and deserving death, then there really isn't much good about Good Friday at all. It's a strange title.
Good Friday is good for God's people because it's a reminder of the fact that God is loving toward his people. "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1Jn.4:10). "In this the love of God was made manifest among us..." (1Jn.4:9). "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Ro.5:8). Through Jesus, then, we have "obtained access by faith" into God's grace (Ro.5:1). That is really good news for those who understand their depravity.
Good Friday is also good in that it reminds people of God's justice. Good Friday is a reminder that God is just and will not sweep sin and injustice under the cosmic rug. He will deal with it. For those trusting in Jesus to be the God's-wrath-bearing-substitute for them, their sin is ultimately dealt with in Jesus at the cross. (God's demand for justice and his desire to love meet in Jesus at the cross.) For those not trusting this Great Substitution, their sin is ultimately dealt with in themselves in Hell. For them, the reminders of Good Friday aren't so good. "...whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (Jn.3:36). "God considers it just to repay with affliction... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed..." (2Thess.1:6-10). Sobering truth.
The reminders of Good Friday will be a stumbling block for some. They will be foolish to others. But, to those who are called, the reminders of Good Friday are a soberly joyous declaration of God's wisdom and power (1Cor.2:23-24).
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