2012-04-06 - A Good Day?!
Let me see if I have this right.
A guy who grew up in the metropolitan Jerusalem area met his closest friends for dinner at a quaint little place called "The Upper Room". During this dinner the wait staff was nowhere to be found so this man took it upon himself to tend to the hygienic needs of all the other guests. To put it another way, he washed all the crud on their feet that walking on dusty trails for miles at a time can cause to build up. After dinner, this man and most of his companions go for a walk in a nearby park. In this park, he is met by a "friend" that betrays him. He is then arrested on false charges. At this point almost all of his friends abandon him. Overnight, instead of a fair trial he is punished first then hauled from one judge to another until one will finally allow his accusers to have him executed. During all of this back and forth commotion, he is subjected to the kind of police brutality that nowadays would result in a million dollar lawsuit. Also in his back and forth between judges, one of his best friends totally denies knowing him â not once but three times. The sun rises finding Jesus being drug back to the location of his second trial. Here the judge decides he is not guilty but to appease the crowd of haters and hopefully increase his own popularity he order that Jesus be beaten savagely. After this beating, his accusers have stirred the gathering crowds into a frenzy and they all cry out for his execution. Giving in to the mob, the judge sentences him to execution. He dies later that day and because of cultural traditions, a few people rush to bury him before dark so he isn't even given a proper burial.
This man was named Jesus and I am one of his followers.
I wonder if outsiders to his group called "Christians", or Christ-followers, look at these events and wonder why we call the day this all happened "Good Friday"? How can we as followers of this man call the day our leader was abused and slaughtered good? How can that be? When we honor other people, we do not celebrate the day they died only the day they were born. President's day and MLK day are near Lincoln and King's birthday not the anniversary of their assassinations. In fact we do celebrate Jesus' birthday with Christmas but why would we celebrate the anniversary of his death. Why would it be a holiday on which many churches hold special services? Simply put, what's so good about Good Friday?
Well the scripture contains the events of some other days that we need to consider in answering this.
Way back in the early days of humanity, Adam and Eve committed the first sin. That day was a bad day because all of humanity from that day forward was born into sin. We do not get taught how to sin; it is part of our nature. Some sin may seem like fun; some may look really good. But the truth is that sin is quite bad. God is perfect and cannon be involved with sin or with sinful people so sin causes separation from the source of life. That is what the Bible means when it says "the wages of sin is death". Our sin earns us separation from the source of life. Like a plant separated from a source of water, we will wither and die. I think we can all agree that was indeed a bad day.
At some point in the future there will be a day that the scripture refers to as "Judgment day". This day I believe will look something like a courtroom drama. Every person will stand on trial for their sins and God will preside over it all as judge. No matter how many good things we try to show God that we did, the evidence will clearly show that we have all sinned. Like any good judge the good we do will not really be an issue just as it wouldn't be in a trial today. Can you imagine an accused murderer getting on the stand and saying, "Yes Judge, I killed the man. But I went to church three times the year before and I gave lots of money last year to charity so it should all even out." Our good does not even out with our sin. God is just and as a just judge he will find us guilty and we will be eternally separated from him. That too I believe you can agree will be a very bad day.
But somewhere in the middle is this "Good Friday". It is on this day that God's son took the blame for every sin that you and I have ever committed or will ever commit. As the son of God â Jesus, hung on the cross all our sins were put on him. On that day I became innocent just if I'd never sinned. That is what is meant when I say I am justified. When that Judgment day comes, God will call me up to be judged and his son will stand up and say, "Father. It wasn't him. I did it and I already paid the price." That makes that day sound pretty good but it sounds a lot like wishful thinking. I mean how can I know that Jesus was really God's son and that he really could die for my sins. We know that to be true because of one other really good day - Easter.
On Sunday morning, some of his followers came to his tomb to finish up his burial. Yes after a few days in a hot grave his body would've been stinking but they loved him enough to want to finish the burial process. They wanted to pay their respects to this man they had followed. But his body was not there. Had it been stolen? No! He was alive and appeared to many of them that day and in the month to follow. In coming back to life, he proved that he was who he said he was and that he had the power to do what he said he would do. Easter proves that Friday was not just a good day but a great day!
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NASB) 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
Today you can trust in Christ. Today you can trust that good Friday is as good as I say it is. You can be justified. You can be forgiven. On that Friday, God paid it all and declared, "It is finished." Will you try to work off your sin with good behavior or will you let him take your place? Will today be just another day or will it be a good day for you?
Have a Good Friday!