Good Friday is a day that boggles my mind.
It is called “Good” Friday. I know it is good because Jesus dying on the cross for my sins is an amazing and awesome thing. I am not downplaying that. But, when you really look at what happened on the day, sometimes it is difficult to say good. At least not without looking at the real implications.
Like “Lint,” as a child, this seemed bizarre. On a “Good” day, we would go to church and walk around outside following what Jesus did with the cross and such… If it was nice out. If not, we did it inside. In my mind, I thought this was odd… I mean, Jesus suffered, so why don’t we go outside… He was. Possibly because we didn’t want to give the old folks hypothermia. But, as a kid, that wasn’t an issue. And church outside was pretty cool. The other thing I remember about Good Friday is that we would eat fish. I liked fish just fine, but have you ever gone out for fish on Good Friday? It is a mad house. I am pretty sure more people turn up for fish than church. Which has a lot to say about our society and belief system. There was very little good about that to a kid. And to be honest, the whole fish take out thing is still not good to me now (though I still like fish, I quite dislike crowds and tradition).
There is a lot of debate about which day is actually the day Jesus died. We know He was dead for three days before He rose. According to the Jewish tradition, a day can be counted as a day, even if it was only an hour or two into the day. So, Friday is considered the day Jesus died. Especially given they were rushing things for Passover celebrations (how festive). Three days from Friday evening is Sunday morning. Some people do Easter Monday because they believe that is legitimately three days. Others say Jesus died earlier in the week.. Or so I have heard, in order to make it a 72 hour period. Really, who cares? We are celebrating the principle of the matter, not the legalistic details.
The thing that blows my mind most on Good Friday is that Jesus died for our sins. That is crazy. Here we have a normal guy (okay, not quite, he was God’s son and such) and He was sinless and then He had to die because we are all messed up. That is a big load to bear.
Then, we have His friends. I have had friends die and it hurts. And they weren’t my best buddies or anything. I can’t imagine the hurt the disciples must have felt. And Jesus’s mom… Wow.
Good Friday was full of hurt and fear and questioning. Just like when we loose a loved one. Think of a time you lost someone. Or when something really crazy happened that broke your spirit and shook your beliefs. That is what these people were feeling.
I am grateful they did feel these things. I am grateful this happened.
Without these events, I would be a different person. Without these events, I wouldn’t know Jesus. I wouldn’t go to heaven.
The pastor at our church said that the reason we call Good Friday good is because it is more than good. Think about it, if we were really sick and someone just stepped in and took our place, that would be amazing. The person would have done the impossible and saved us from suffering and hurt. That is precisely what happened when Jesus died. That is why we can at least call the day “good.”
That is why Good Friday is good. Even if it was kind of bad for the people looking on.
I have a song on my heart for Good Friday. It is called “Why?” by Nicole Nordeman. It is from the perspective of a young child who happened to be in town with her Dad when Jesus was crucified. It seems to capture for me the emotion at the time. Take a minute to listen and think about what Good Friday means to you and what it meant to them.