Good Friday celebrates or rather reflects the day of when Jesus died. This man had been in the public eye for three years preaching and teaching and performing miracles and healings of which all accepted because even his enemies could not deny the miracles and healings he performed. They could only slander him and try to murder him of which they succeeded when they had him crucified. Jesus died on that Friday and what should have been buried in the secret pages of History of an obscure Jewish death has centred history ever since. The question now is why?
When Jesus was alive on the earth, He often told his disciples that he was going to die. Jesus said to his disciples before his death, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of man (Jesus) will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles (Non Jews) to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day’, (Mathew 20:17-19). Also in Mark 8:31 ‘Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man (Jesus) must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priest and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again’.
Jesus knew that he was going to die and said that he must suffer these things. The reason why Jesus must suffer these things is because just before he was born an angel appeared to Joseph saying ‘Joseph, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Mary will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people be from their sins’. Jesus himself made it obvious to his disciples when he said ‘I came not to be served, but to serve, and give my life as a ransom for many’, (Mark 10:45). The death of Jesus is wrapped up in saving people from their sins and also to serve people and give his life as a ransom.
A prophet who lived 700 years before Jesus also predicted how Jesus was going to die and explains the meaning of His death. The prophet remarkably said ‘He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not….but he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed by our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace’ (Isaiah 53). So Jesus was born to die and we know that he was to die for sins and save people and the way he would accomplish this was by his death on the cross. But why is all this good news and why is good Friday good?
Before we can understand why good Friday is good it is crucial to understand the bad news. Because there is a living God who created everything out of Love and joy, He made the world colourful and beautiful and all lived in unison. God made man as the apex of creation to govern this world under him under his sovereign rule. God made us like himself, relational and intelligent and we were created to enjoy God and for God to enjoy us. But this is not the picture we see today; what we see today is that just as it was at the beginning, men and women everywhere rejected God. We don’t like someone telling us what to do, least of all God so we rebel against him by doing what we wanted to do. We rejected God and substitute ourselves or others as ruler of our lives. We ignore God and live our own lives and this is a tragic because now we pollute the world and turn our back against God. Are you turning your back on God and doing your own thing? In rejecting God we make a mess of our lives because God knows what is best for us ultimately and by rebelling against God we make a mess out of this world and the question is what is God going to do about it?
Because God cares about humanity and about the world he created he cannot let this rebellion and your rebellion continue forever. God will ultimate judge all of our actions and because we decide to turn away from God, God’s judgement is to turn away from us and punish us for our rebellion, for our sins in this world (death) and in hell. For man is destined to die once and after that to face judgement. God is the source of all good and beauty and his final withdrawal will be darkness and bitterness and misery for your soul. This is the bad news that we are all guilty, you have turned your back against God and there is nothing you can do to redeem yourself because your offence is so great. There is no amount of good works that can take away your bad deeds towards God and men and God being just must act fairly. This is a horrible place to be in because you are cut off from God, your creator the very thing you were made for. Will you continue to rebel against this loving God or would you like to turn back to him and know him? If you would like to know him and turn back to him, the death of Jesus happened for this precise reason. God has made Jesus Christ to be sin for you so that you may be reconciled back to God. This is why Jesus said that ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes will not perish (be forever separated from God) but have eternal life.
The bad news is really bad and the good news is really good because God has done what we cannot do for ourselves. This is what the early believers of Jesus recognized and the message of love and reconciliation which they believed turned the world upside down. Friday became good and their message and life has transformed the world for the better. Would you not want to live like this as Jesus said:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mathew 5).
And also the apostle Paul writes ‘Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law… let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh’, (Romans 13)
Good Friday is good because now by the death of Jesus Christ we can be reconciled back to God. Will you not today be reconciled back to God by accepting the free gift of Love he has shown you through Jesus Christ?