What’s So Good about Friday?

Why we celebrate Good Friday: Today Christians around the world celebrate Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. To many observers it seems a misnamed holiday. That first Good Friday seemed anything but good. Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples; he was forcibly arrested, falsely accused, grossly mistreated, illegally tried, and unjustly sentenced to death. His followers deserted him and fled. Peter denied knowing him.

Furthermore Jesus was innocent. He had done no wrong to deserve such punishment. Even Pilate, the Roman Governor, testified: “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” (Luke 23:4) And so on Good Friday we celebrate the execution of an innocent man who was abandoned by his friends and sent to his death on trumped-up charges. What’s so good about that?

To answer the question we need to go back to Jesus’ birth when the angel announced to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) Good Friday is good because it is the culmination of the good news that the angels brought to the shepherds that first Christmas morning. We have all sinned and broken God’s law. And therefore we are all in need of a Savior. Jesus came into our world to be that Savior, and he accomplished the work of salvation by dying on the cross for us.

The New Testament refers to Jesus as the “Passover lamb who was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7) The Passover lamb was an animal without blemish or defect. In the same way Jesus is the perfect Son of God. When Jesus died on the cross, he was not dying for his own sins, because he had no sin. He was dying for our sins; he was dying in our place.

The good news announced by the angels at Christmas was fulfilled in Christ’s death for us on Good Friday. What’s so good about Friday? Jesus, who was born to be the Savior, completed his work of salvation on the cross. It was a good work, and God made a way of salvation for all who believe. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Of course three days later, the story gets even better. But that would be peeking ahead to Easter!

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Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. What is Good Friday? at Ray Fowler .org
  2. Good Friday Poems by George Herbert at Ray Fowler .org

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