What’s So Good About Good Friday?
I grew up in the church. I’m what is referred to as a “diaper Lutheran”. I’ve been an LCMS member since birth. I grew up always attending Holy Week services and felt like Good Friday services stung a bit more. The darkness, the sad songs, the very long Passion reading. The loud slamming book. Leaving church in silence when I was used to donuts after most services. Growing up, I did not see much “good” in Good Friday.
Lest you think I’m forgetting the cross…I’m not. I was raised in the church. Every good Lutheran kid can tell you “Jesus died on a cross for my sins.”
However, what does a child know of death? I grew up knowing little of death. Sometimes old people at church died. I knew no tragedy.
As a child of the 70s and 80s, I watched a lot of TV. And while television then was not as graphic as now, death was there. But death was on television. Death was not real to me.
I’m of the opinion, that until you suffer a close loss, death is just a concept, not a reality.
So for me, growing up, Good Friday was just a downer.
Of course, at age 40…I’ve seen death. I’ve had close family members die. I’ve had friends die. I’ve said goodbye too many times. And as an adult, I know that death is permanent. We fear death. We run from death. Our fear of death compels us to behave in certain ways. Our fear of death affects nearly every aspect of our lives.
We speak of the unfairness of death. We cry out to God when someone dies too soon. Death is our biggest fear.
And yet, Jesus died.
He was crucified. He was executed. He was murdered.
His death was not peaceful, expected (though he warned us), or commonplace.
Jesus died. Not a literary death. Not a movie death. Not a figurative death.
His heart stopped beating. His blood stopped flowing. There was no way to revive Him.
He was unjustly judged. We deserved His punishment. We still do.
But thanks be to God that His plans are always better than our plans!
For if Jesus did not really die, then he did not really rise again, and therefore did not really conquer death.
God required a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. Perfect. Flawless. Without sin. Without blemish.
Only one person could fill that requirement.
We know the truth! Jesus died. Jesus rose. Jesus is no longer dead, but is alive!
Jesus took our punishment.
Trust me, that is no easy task. I have six children. Not one of them will accept an unjust punishment. Not one of them will take on the punishment of another. Not one of them even willingly accepts punishment that they deserve.
But because He rose, we too will rise.
That, my friends, is what makes Good Friday so good.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
A blessed Good Friday to you.