Updated: Apr 15, 2020
Written by Pastor Eric Risner
In a few days, Christians from all around the globe will celebrate Good Friday. The reality of what this day points to is rather bleak—not what many may call good. This Friday commemorates the suffering and death of Jesus. If you are familiar with the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life that begin the New Testament, you know just how gruesome and cruel that event was.
So, why call it Good Friday? Why not “Bad Friday,” “Friday of Sorrow,” or something along those lines?
Some people debate as to whether it was ever called “Good Friday.” They say that it was originally—before being translated to English—called “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday fits; it is entirely appropriate. The name works so well because the death of Jesus was the dramatic revealing of how God would save people from their sins. Good Friday is good news—we can be rescued.
But in order for something to be understood and received as good, you must first know and understand the bad. The good news of this Friday (and the gospel) won’t have meaning to us if we do not grasp the news of our sinful condition.
We can only celebrate our deliverance if we understand that we were held captive.
As sinners, we stand condemned before God. We are utterly hopeless; unable to rescue ourselves. The death of Jesus—despite how gruesome it was—is good because it offers hope to the hopeless.
Good Friday had to happen in order for us to embrace the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus—who substituted Himself in our place—so that forgiveness and salvation could be freely given to all who receive the gospel.
The joy of the resurrection points back to Good Friday. Jesus’ triumph over death lets us know that our sin can truly be forgiven. It lets us know that there is a way to be justified before God. The resurrection of Christ reveals that Good Friday was, in fact, good. The death of Jesus means something for weary sinners. It can renew our sin-sick souls and provide us with a newness of life that transforms everything about us.
Good Friday can be considered good for many reasons. But one reason should leave us in awe and trembling before our Creator—it was for us.