“What was so good about Good Friday?”

By Pastor Ron Buxton

I want to revisit a topic that was celebrated publicly last week. I spoke about Easter in my last article, so I won’t return there. However, it is the explanation about “Good Friday” where I want to muse for a few moments. You see, the name – in itself – seems very strange considering what occurred on that day in the annals of history. I mention the word history, because the event is also recorded in other extra-biblical sources. I’m talking about the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth on a Friday so many years ago.

       Flavius Josephus wrote in his Antiquities of the Jews : “Now there was about this time…Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man….[and] Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us…had him condemned to the cross.”  Another historian of that first century, named Thallus (also, not a Christ follower) mentioned in his writings the mysterious darkness that covered the face of the earth at the Passover in A.D. 32. This is exactly what happened on that “Good Friday” and mentioned in Luke 23:44. So I ask the obvious question– what could possibly be good about a dark and gloomy day where a certain religious leader was scourged, beaten, spat upon, mocked, and then nailed to a wooden cross?

I remember the first few times that I actually read the New Testament and encountered some of the teachings of Jesus. There was a sometimes strange and illogical progression to His ideas and illustrations. In literature, we call those verbal constructions paradoxes. Webster’s Dictionary defines a paradox as: “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” It’s like what I mentioned in previous articles, God’s Kingdom to the human intellect is often perceived as “upside-down.” And such is the case with “Good Friday.”

All humanity is lost in an internal (and many times, external) battle against everything around them. Not good. Selfish choices have alienated mankind from their Creator, as well as each other. Not good. The Bible refers to that as the sin nature. It is an internal “sickness of the soul”  that has no simple remedy. That’s not to say that people have not tried to fix the problem on their own. Our bookstores are loaded with all kinds of self-help books in an attempt to mitigate this cancer of the soul. But if the truth be told, these are only “band-aids” to a much deeper (and terminal) condition. Again, not good.

Thus, “Good Friday” — as horrible as it seems from a sterile historical observation — was God’s effort to remedy the lost human condition that has estranged each person from Himself. That was amazingly good! It’s a paradox. From something so dark and evil, ultimate good could arise. What’s also good is that it’s effect also remedies the estrangement that we too often endure among other mortals such as we are. Christ’s suffering and death paid a “price” to remedy that lost-ness that we were subjected to. I repeat, amazingly good!

       Our acceptance of that remedy (the Bible calls it faith) permits us to live lives that are free of the consequences we would otherwise suffer down here, and into eternity. When Jesus was first identified to a man named Nathanael, that man’s question was: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” And Jesus proved him wrong. Today when I ask the question, “What’s so good about ‘Good Friday’?” May Jesus’ atoning death on that day, rather than having the disbelief of a Nathanael, be met with heartfelt thanksgiving and praise! May T.G.I.F take on a whole new meaning to you!


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