Why “Good” Friday?
Many people have asked me, “In light of the events that happened to Jesus on this day in history, why do we call it Good?” A standard response is that it is called Good because of what Christ accomplished through the willing sacrifice of His life for ours. Good Friday then sets us up for Resurrection Sunday! So we don’t get the resurrection without the pain of Friday’s crucifixion.
That does make sense, and it is a “good” answer, but there have also been other names given to this day. Some of the names it has been called are; “Holy Friday” – “Black Friday” – “Great Friday” – “God’s Friday.” It truly is a powerful day. This is the day that we are reminded that in Christ, God had turned the entire religious system on it’s head.
Through all the ages, God has been viewed as someone who dwelt above/beyond the earth. This is the realm where all that sustains life comes from. The sun, the moon, the rain, even the weather patterns. Humanity then began to “look up” and devised ways of trying to get God, or “the gods” to give them the things they needed, from a good harvest to favor in business.
Until the moment Jesus arrived,(an unfortunately still to this day) the religions of the world really moved in the same direction. If you wanted to be in a good spot with God, you had to do whatever it took to appease Him/them… if you did it right, then He would send the sun and the rain at the right times on your crops. If you did it right, you would have many children, if you did it right, good things would happen to you. However, If you didn’t appease Him/them, bad things would happen to you. So life was/is spent trying to figure out what side-of-the-bed God got up on today, and where a person stood with God/gods.
It is easy to see how a religious system of “works” and “appeasement” so naturally came into being. Life was lived trying to make the invisible god(s) happy, and it seemed that not many were making much headway.
Then comes Jesus. Jesus reverses the order. In Christ it is not about appeasing God, trying to do things down here that would favorably get His attention…rather Jesus reveals the true heart of the Father. He initiates and completes everything necessary for us to be in relationship with God apart from a religious appeasement system.
Instead of trying to work our way up to God…
He loved His way down to us.
Jesus’ sacrifice reminds us that He has done everything necessary for us to reconnect with the Living God. There is nothing for us to add to what Christ has done. His death and resurrection secure our hope. When we think there are things we must do, we are falling under the old system of appeasement again…there is no gift greater than Christ’s life…there is nothing more powerful that we can do beyond Jesus raised from the dead…
A life that is following the Rabbi (Jesus) will change as a by-product of the renewed relationship available with God…but it is important to remember that the by-product of a transformed life is not the basis for your acceptance before God…Jesus is, and He is good.
So today is a day to be thankful for God’s plan to equalize the playing field through grace. For turning upside-down the religious view that God is always angry, and we are never good enough. For God choosing to enter our skin and His willingness to substitute His life as a ransom for ours…
When you finish meditating on all that God has done…it is hard not to think…this is “Good.”