Monday, 24 March 2008

What's so good about Friday??

I was always baffled about why Good Friday was so named. What's so good about Jesus dying? Surely it should be called Bad Friday, and then we could have Good Sunday.

When you read the Bible accounts of what happened to Jesus on the day he died (the day we remember as Good Friday), there doesn't seem to be much good happening. He's brought before Jewish and Roman courts on trumped up charges, beaten, mocked, rejected by his followers, and the people of Jerusalem, who had welcomed him into the city only a week or so earlier, and finally hung on a cross to die a tortuous death. So where's the good?

In Mark's account of the Jesus death, it even seems that God (the father) is rejecting his son.

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabaccthani?" - which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

The apostle John includes Jesus' last words in his account: "It is finished" (John 19:30b)

Jesus' dying words on the cross help to explain why it is, that this day is so good.

God, the almighty creator and sustainer of the universe is completely and totally good. The truth about all human beings is that we reject God as Lord (boss) and try to do things our own way. This means that we are enemies of God, and are separated from Him. No matter how much we try to 'behave ourselves' we don't meet the perfect standard needed to be reconciled (brought back together) with God.

Jesus, however, as both fully human and fully divine did live a perfect life, that was pleasing to God. On the cross, Jesus sacrificed himself on our behalf. He cried out to God "Why have you forsaken me?" The reason: He had taken all of our rebellion upon his own head. In his death, Jesus performed a majestic 'swapsie'. He took on all our dodginess (everybody's - people already dead, and people not born yet), and we take on his perfection.

So what about his other words "It is finished" ?? Jesus' death wasn't an accident. It had been planned since the beginning (even back when Adam and Eve first rebelled). For all the time leading up to Jesus' death, God had been planning it, as a means to restore the relationship between Himself, and His people. So as Jesus died, God's plan was complete.

But even more than that. I don't know much about formal grammar - most of what I learnt was by studying French at high school. But I do know that there are different types of 'tenses' for verbs, the most obvious being past, present and future, etc, etc. When Jesus said "It is finished" it was actually in a form that means "It has been and forever will be finished." Now that is HUGE. That is something to have total confidence in.

Not only has Jesus reconciled rebellious people with a perfect God. But we can be certain that it is totally effective, and nothing can happen that may change the offer of salvation found in Jesus. Now if that isn't good, then what is?