I’m not aware of a greater irony than “Good” Friday of Holy Week.
On “Good” Friday, Jesus is crucified between two thieves. He takes on the wrath of God for our sin and dies with a heart full of love and anguish.
Think about how truly horrible those hours leading up to the cross were for Jesus. He gets betrayed by Judas, arrested, falsely accused, denied by Peter, sentenced to death, beaten, mocked and forced to carry the cross to Golgotha and then crucified. It’s the opposite of good! It was Bad Friday, Dreadful Friday, Horrific Friday, Depressing Friday, Grotesque Friday, Unbearable Friday. Any of those seem better than Good Friday.
Jesus died. What is good about that?
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. – Luke 24:44-49
God was gracious to me this week, in my grappling with this truth and the reality of our world’s current experience, in that He kindly reminded me that good is God’s willingness to sacrifice his one and only son that those who might believe in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “Good” is the sacrifice that purchased my blessing. “Good” is the defeat of sin and the pathway for all who believe to flourish. “Good” is knowing that Friday happened, but that Sunday is coming. However, to receive these blessings there had to be blood shed first.
There is no resurrection without crucifixion.
Through his death we receive new life. Because Jesus died for our sins, we get to receive his righteousness. He takes everything we deserved upon himself and gives us everything earned by him. As the saying goes, “everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” Here’s the truth – there is no resurrection without crucifixion.
There is no heaven without death, purification without fire, skilled sailors without rough seas, diamonds without pressure and there is no phoenix rising unless there are ashes. In this chapter of history, there are many deaths happenings. Physical, financial, career, opportunities, graduations, family trips, etc. Yet, from these ashes a flame shall rise up with a more beautiful creation in its place.
This Good Friday doesn’t feel very good and neither did the original one, yet Good Friday only exist because Easter (Resurrection) Sunday is coming. We have to remind ourselves that we can endure the darkness of this day knowing the Light will break some day. Friday is here, but Sunday is coming. There is death and a body in a tomb, but on Sunday there is life and the tomb is empty.
Therefore; let us turn the gaze of our hope, with the resiliency of resurrection in our bones, towards Easter Sunday even as we experience the grief of this Good Friday. It’s true that there is no resurrection without crucifixion, but resurrection still happens nonetheless. Amen.