Growing up in a small town in the northern part of the United States, I experienced many rich traditions. Most of them surrounded holidays or different ethnic festivals. Lent, Good Friday, and Easter season were no different.
While I didn’t really celebrate the Lent season as many of my friends did, on Good Friday, everything – and I mean everything – shut down in the afternoon. Schools closed at noon. Businesses locked their doors at 2:30 p.m. People flocked to churches for the Good Friday service at 3.
Whether you typically went to church or not, on that day you went. No questions. You went.
Admittedly, this was tradition for many. This was the day we remembered that Jesus died on the cross. It was a solemn time rich with meaning—most of which escaped me honestly.
Then, after services were done, most businesses opened back up for the rest of the day. Tradition fulfilled. On with regular life.
I always wondered why we celebrated Good Friday in this way.
Why is it called “Good?”
How can celebrating death be good? Good Friday?
Then I met Jesus face to face.
Those traditions that were ingrained in me now had rich, deep meaning. Meeting Jesus changed my life.
Jesus—who is fully God and fully man—lived human life without sin.
In John 1:29, John the baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here He is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world!”
Jesus offered Himself to satisfy the penalty for everyone’s sin. Jesus. The perfect Lamb of God. (Hebrews 9:11-28)
This is the Powerful Truth.
This is what makes Good Friday good.
Good Friday is the day when God’s extraordinary Mercy conquered death.
“The cross was no accident.
Jesus’ death was not the result of a panicking cosmological engineer. The cross wasn’t a tragic surprise. Calvary was not a knee-jerk response to a world plummeting toward destruction. It wasn’t a patch-up job or a stop-gap measure. The death of the Son of God was anything but an unexpected peril.
No it was part of an incredible plan. A calculated choice.
The moment the forbidden fruit touched the lips of Eve, the shadow of a cross appeared on the horizon. And between that moment and the moment the man with the mallet placed the spike against the wrist of God, a master plan was fulfilled.” Max Lucado in God Came Near
Acts 2:23 says “… this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him.”
Jesus. Perfectly God and completely man. The only One who could satisfy the debt of our sin.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” the payment for sin for all human beings was complete.
Never to be repeated.
So while Good Friday is a day of solemn remembrance and mourning over the excruciating suffering Jesus went through, it is also the day I remember that my sins are paid in full. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, I now stand redeemed, whole, and accepted before my Heavenly Father.
Jesus chose excruciating pain to give you and me extraordinary life forever in God’s presence.
Do you know this Jesus? Do you understand why Good Friday is good? If not, I encourage you to investigate the life of Jesus for yourself and accept His salvation gift.
By the way, Sunday’s coming!