What is Good about Friday?

Posted on March 29, 2013 by

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JesusCross2It is the darkest day of the Christian calendar when we “celebrate” the death of Jesus. He was tried illegally, convicted unjustly, treated mercilessly, and executed as a common criminal.  Jesus, however, was anything but common.

Sure he was a man, 100% man, and the common men and women loved to be around him. The “sinners and tax collectors” followed him from town to town..they loved to be with him and he loved to be with them. He, though, was very uncommon.  He was a religious leader that extended grace, not judgement, even though he was the one true judge of all mankind.  The blind were made to see and the lame able to walk.  He drove out demons, not as the prince of demons, but as the Lord of the universe because he was also 100% God. He was God in the flesh, and he had come on a mission.

He was rejected, beaten, scourged, and spat upon. He was crucified, which was viewed as only fitting for the lowest of society. Christians remember this event and call the day “Good Friday.” But what was possibly good about it?

It is the day that we as people, lost and condemned in our sin, see another take our place.  We deserved to be on the cross as we have rejected and ignored the rightful place of God in our lives. It is the day that God’s wrath, which is his righteous holy response to sin, is poured out, but not on us.  He takes it upon himself as both the judge and the one who justifies.

“The concept of substitution may be said, then to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God, and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man, and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”  The Cross of Christ , John R. W. Stott, pg 160

“Substitution is not a metaphor for what God did; it is what he actually did.  God actually did choose to put himself in a place where we should be, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  The God I don’t Understand, Christopher J. H. Wright, pg 125

So what is good about Good Friday? Everything. He has taken our place. “While were were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8. We see both the fullness of God’s love and the fullness of his wrath expressed concurrently at the cross.  We see the beauty and power of God’s nature in its fullness. His wrath poured out on himself, and his love extended to us. We don’t deserve it…that is the nature of the Gospel.

So what is good about Good Friday? Well, Sunday is coming, when Jesus conquered death, rose from the grave, and stamped the finality of everything that happened on the cross. On the cross Jesus declared, “It is finished.” Price paid in full…that the penalty for sin has been paid. Completed. His resurrection shouted to all the universe, including you and me, that we are welcome home.  He is worthy of our complete belief and trust.  He gave his life for us. We should in humility and gratitude, return to him and live our lives as a reflection of his love. He has freed us from sin, and for himself. He has empowered us for a life of following and serving him…that is the power of the Gospel.

That is indeed Good News and it happened on Friday!

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