What’s so Good about Friday?
What’s so good about Friday?
Have you ever thought about the term Good Friday? Isn’t this the day that Jesus, God in the flesh, accepted the death penalty on our behalf? That doesn’t sound so good and nice.
I realize many of you know this but some may not. Jesus was the exact imprint of God in the flesh. In fact, Jesus being God’s son can be a little confusing too. Yes, Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit within Mary and was, therefore “born” of man. But Jesus is also eternal and has always been a part of the Godhead. Many theologians will even say that the Malakh YHWH, (angel of the Lord) that appears in parts of the Old Testament, was the pre-incarnate Christ. The reason we need to know that Jesus is eternal is for us to understand that Jesus knew 100% exactly what He was doing.
Throughout the Old Testament, God made covenants or promises with his people. They basically said, if you obey, I will bless you. Every time, God’s people said, “Okay, great! That sounds like a good deal.” Then they would utterly fail and go back to their sinful ways. They would do these even though they would get glimpses of God’s blessings. To make up for or atone for their sin they had a sacrificial system. This system symbolically allowed them to place their sin on an animal and have that animal killed in their place to pay for their sin. The animal was often a pure lamb. Interestingly, lambs are not one of the brightest animals. The need a guide to avoid their own death. After the sacrifice was made, people would fall back to their sin and they’d have to do it all over again. Though God’s love never wavered, their separation due to their sin would keep them from a true relationship with their God. But all throughout the Old Testament was the promise of a king that would make things right and would restore the kingdom to how it was intended to be. The relationship between God and man would be like that in the garden of Eden before the fall of man.
Enter Jesus. Problem is, Jesus looks nothing like a king. He is born to a poor nobody in the filthiest of conditions. And who is there to witness it? The lowest of the low – shepherds in a nearby field. What kind of king is this? He wasn’t even born in the city of the great temple, Jerusalem. Rather he was born way up north in some little no name town. Jesus is counter everything. As He begins his ministry, he calls his disciples – the failures and dropouts who would never be qualified to follow a rabbi. Then Jesus ministry goes against the rigorous laws that all the religious people followed. Jesus actually redefined the law and strips the religious leaders of their pious attitudes and arrogance. The religious leaders are fuming and decide that Jesus deserves death. Even though he has done nothing but good, the hatred (of man) wells up inside of them to a raging fire. They actually decide to take a guilty man, Barabas and trade him for an innocent man, Jesus. What crazy symbolism – the innocent sacrificed in exchange for the guilty. The religious leaders decide, not only should Jesus die but he should die the worst form of death – execution on a cross. On the cross, he will suffer one of the most extreme forms of torture. Nails through his hands and feet. As a result, he will suffocate unless he pushes up on those nails to sustain himself and hold open his lungs.
So Jesus – aka, the lamb of God, is an innocent man, guilty of no sin, and he dies a criminals death. Jesus is sacrificed for us. What Jesus does is the most significant act in human history. He dies and pays the absolute necessary price to atone for our sin once and for all. Inside the temple, the curtain that protects the Holy of Holies (where the presence of God was said to dwell) is torn from top to bottom. So what? This is so significant. The presence of God is now accessible to all. This is the inauguration of the kingdom of God. The relationship between God and man can finally be restored. Our sin has been paid for once and for all.
So, today, as you celebrate Good Friday. Take a moment to reflect on the significance of what Jesus has done and what he has done for you. You now have access to the God who has given you that breath of air you took in. You have a relationship with the God that allows you to read, understand, comprehend, see, hear, smell, and so on. The God of the universe wants a relationship with you so much so that he paid the price that you could not pay. We will not be perfect in this life but God has made a way for us to be pure through the sacrificial shed blood of Jesus.
Happy Good Friday!