Every year I find myself compelled to go.
I know it will probably feel painful and even a bit dark. I know I will once again sit in a pew with tears streaming down my face as I recognize how unworthy I am of being treated as someone of worth. To be valued, treasured, sacrificed for.
If this is Good Friday, why doesn’t it feel so “good”?
It all seems backward doesn’t it?
What could be good about the unspeakable pain he suffered?
What could be good about the shame and betrayal?
Easter Sunday is so joyful, bright and cheery. The songs are upbeat, hands are clapping and everyone is dressed in their Easter best.
Shouldn’t that be the day we call “good”? It just feels so much better!
But, I don’t know how to sit in the pew on Easter Sunday and rejoice over His resurrection, unless I have felt the pain of His death. I have realized that in life the sweetest victories are the ones which were realized after a pain-filled journey.
And, so it is with Good Friday. I know there will be victory over death and I will sit in that pew surrounded by my family and celebrate with the best of them! But I can’t skip ahead in the story.
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:1-5
He knew what was ahead. He knew what he would experience. And he knew why he would go through it.
He did it for me. He did it for you.
Do you know that? It is hard to comprehend isn’t it?
Sometimes it makes me squirm a bit. Why would anyone do that for me? Well, because, I can’t do it for myself!
There is nothing I can do to earn that kind of love and mercy.
That is why it is called GRACE.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
His grace is freely given. We don’t have to pay for it. He paid the price for us already.
Do you remember that movie from years ago called “Ransom”?
A couple’s young son was kidnapped and the parents went to hell and back trying to find him and pay the “ransom” demanded by the kidnappers.
Well, Jesus is our “ransom”. (1 Timothy 2:6) His life was the payment.
“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30
Why is it called “Good Friday”?
Because that wasn’t the end of the story….
…It was just the beginning!