Friday, 6 April 2012

What's So Good About Good Friday?

The Friday of the Easter weekend is always called Good Friday.  Maybe it's the bank holiday day off that we think is good about that day or the sneaky Easter egg you might eat up a few days early (I'm guilty of that already) that makes this day 'good' but the real reason behind it is found in the Easter story that the whole weekend is named after.

However, surely the leader of a religion being nailed to a piece of wood and innocently murdered isn't a good thing?  The anniversaries of most famous peoples' deaths are mourned, marked by a minute's silence and the laying of flowers.  Why is Good Friday labelled good?

This Friday is good because Jesus died.  He himself said, just before he was arrested and killed, 'the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified' (John 12:23): his death on the cross was the glorification of God, it is what makes God great and is a reason to celebrate!  How so?

Jesus went on to give a metaphor for his death: 'unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds' (John 12:24).  He is saying that if he dies, he will produce many seeds.  Indeed, for a Christian, Jesus' death is the source of their life; that he died, we can conquer death and have eternal life.  In our natural state, in rebellion against God and living for ourselves, death is the end and there is worse than death to come.  Jesus offers the opportunity to have life after death and, in fact, death really means the beginning of true life!

Imagine you have committed a murder and are in court waiting to be sentenced.  It's the death penalty.  But as you look to the guards who are to take you away, someone has a word and takes your place on death row.  They are taken away to be punished your crime and you leave the court with a feeling of a new start, a new life.  This is a picture of what Jesus did for you on Good Friday; it should have been you but Jesus' love for you is so great, he took your place!

This sure is a good day.  God seems to have a habit of using bad things that seem terrible for good, showing his power through the weaknesses in life (2 Corinthians 12:9) and this is the ultimate example.  A reason to to be glad?  A good Friday?  I think so.