April 6, 2012
The most common question associated with Good Friday is “why is it called GOOD Friday?” The motivation for that question of course is that we associate the pain, suffering, torture, abuse, chastisement, ridiculous trial, and misunderstanding of Jesus as being BAD. Those are of course all bad things, but the thing that makes the good outweigh the bad is that common phenomenon (which we humans often tend to forget) that seemingly bad news often brings good things.
Think of a transition that was forced upon you. One for which you did not feel ready. In my case my second pregnancy was not welcome news. I cried, more than once. I actually doubted God’s existence or at least God’s control over human reproduction. My oldest was only five months old when I came to the stark realization that there was a new life growing inside of me. I was pastoring three churches, caring for an infant, in an increasingly bad marriage, exhausted, and ….pregnant. I just could not believe how that could even be biologically possible. And yet, out of all of that fear and dread came one of the most incredible blessings in my life. I take back everything I said and thought about God over those few months. It is quite possible that the very existence of that second child saved me when I needed it and gave me perseverance and purpose that I probably could not have survived without. So, seemingly bad news can have incredible outcomes.
Good Friday is good because without the loving sacrifice made by Jesus Christ there would be no Easter. We can understand that from this perspective, but I don’t think many people did while they were watching Jesus suffer his abuse. Can you imagine being his mother and watching nails be driven through his hands? What did they think was happening? Do you think they could fathom why? Jesus’ masterpiece in many ways is the way he handled himself on the cross. He prayed for God to forgive those who were tormenting him. He matched his mother and friend so they would have family and support after Jesus’ death. He offered forgiveness to the criminal being crucified at his side. Even being nailed down did not prevent Jesus from offering love, forgiveness, and compassion. They say that suffering doesn’t really develop character, it reveals it. We see a lot revealed in the Jesus that hangs on the cross. Everything he taught, he really believed. If nothing else, Good Friday is good because we see that Jesus was the genuine giver of peace.