Every Good Friday, I’m always struck by the name we’ve decided to give this day. Beatings, betrayal, mockery and death. We call that good?
Ah, but therein lies the tension. As I’ve gotten older, tension is what I associate Good Friday with the most.
You see, I’ve grown up in the church. Without fail, if you ask someone why Good Friday is considered good, you’ll probably get some variation on the same answer…
Because Sunday’s coming.
By that, they mean that we know Jesus rose again on the third day — winning triumphantly over death and saving mankind from our sins. Obviously, that’s good!
Yes, but what about the days before Sunday? Easter may be astoundingly good, but that’s still a few days away. What about Friday is good?
First off, I encourage you to go read the account for yourself. It’s in Matthew 27:11–65.
Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 27:11-65 - New International Version
Jesus Before Pilate - Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the…
Jesus, who just days before had majestically ridden into the city amidst cheering and applause, was being traded for a murderer and sentenced to the cruel death of crucifixion.
Again I ask, what’s good about that?
For one, I know that Jesus understands me.
Of course I’m not saying that I’ve ever gone through anything so painful as dying on the cross. No, not even close.
But that’s the point. I know that the God to whom I pray, the God who created the universe and came to earth to save me…I know He understands what I’m going through. If He endured that pain, He understands any pain.
Another good thing that comes out of this story is the realization that it’s okay to ask God questions. Even Jesus did. In fact, Jesus asked God why He had forsaken Him. That’s a pretty tough, direct question.
But if you’re like me, you’ve been in tough moments where you wanted to ask God direct questions like that. It’s good knowing that Jesus is okay with us doing that.
But it would be pretty selfish of me to say that all the pain and suffering Jesus went through was good because I came to the realization that it’s okay to ask questions. No, I have a hard time saying Good Friday is good.
And that’s another good thing about it.
We’re not always going to be in good situations. Jesus doesn’t promise that the Christian life will be easy. Life is hard sometimes. There’s no way around it.
But even in the bad times, God is with us and He has a plan for us. Jesus’ death and resurrection had been foretold thousands of years before. This plan was being worked out before many who were watching it unfold had even been born.
No, it’s not good that my Savior was betrayed, beaten and crucified upon a cross. There’s a heaviness I feel whenever I read about it. But I think that’s okay. I think we’re supposed to sit in that tension for a little bit. I think we’re supposed to search tough situations like Good Friday to find where God is in all of it. Why?
Because it makes Sunday that much sweeter.
I encourage you, no matter what you’re going through, God is there. Maybe you’ve never looked for Him before. That’s okay. The man on the cross next to Jesus didn’t look for God until minutes before he breathed his last breath.
I’ve seen God in times where I thought my money would run out. I’ve seen God in times when pain and death touched my family. I’ve seen God in times where the questions I wanted to ask him were hard for me to even put into words.
He’s always been there. And I know He always will be.
If there’s anything good about Good Friday, it’s that God isn’t intimidated by tension. It doesn’t scare Him. In fact, He invites us to sit with Him in the midst of tension. Because what He has in store is even better…