I know we have all heard the sermons about Good Friday being misnamed, because it was anything but good.
Agonizing, without a doubt.
So, we have been pointed in the direction of identifying the irony of calling such a vicious day a “good” day. I don’t disagree; I’m sure I have preached that message in the past.
I know we’ve also been taught to view this as Good Friday because of what takes place later. In other words, it’s only Good Friday because of what we see on the other side of the horror. You know that anthem… It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!
Again, not untrue. And, it is inspiring theology for sure.
But, what if Good Friday was good on the day it was happening in the way that it was happening? No, I’m not saying that brutality is a kindness, nor am I saying that the events of Jesus crucifixion were pleasant in any way.
Far be it for me, I can hardly stand to imagine those moments in my prayer time, read the accounts in Scripture, or watch in the Christian movies that portray this day.
Yet, what if 2000 years ago as Christ bore the crown of thorns, suffered the lashes on his back, and carried the cross to Calvary… what if all that was, good?
The phrase Good Friday does not exist in Scripture, it’s a part of church tradition remembering the day of Jesus’ brutal sacrifice. However, the concept of and the word “good“ are all over the New Testament and consistently stem from the Greek root agathos.
One place that word shows up is in Philippians 1:6:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Well, we all know the end of that story. The good work that Jesus was doing, the good work that He had to carry on to completion, that good work involved the cross on a Friday.
So, by Jesus’ own definition the work that needed to be done for our salvation, began in us by Him, completed in us by Him, and sustained us by Him was good.
The reason we call it Good Friday is because the work He was doing for us on the cross to bring our salvation into existence was “good!“
Hard, unjust, sacrificial, violent, unfair, brutal, wrong, but… it was good. Not just because of what it did, and not in the rearview mirror. Jesus was doing “good“ even on the most beautiful/brutal/brutiful of days 2000 years ago.
This should stand as a reminder to followers of Jesus even today.
First, that we should be overcome with gratitude and worship because of the good thing He was willing to do for us.
And, second, that we should know that, even as we go through hardship for the sake of the cross, discipline for our own discipleship, and sacrifice for the sake of others, it’s not something that one day might turn out well. In that moment, in that suffering, in that persecution, in that hardship, it is good.
Made this truly be a good Friday to each and everyone of you.