[This article was originally featured in our hometown newspaper, The Seymour Tribune].
What makes Good Friday good?
What is good about illegal arrests, puppet trials, executing the innocent, and setting free the guilty? Nothing. And everything. For centuries, Christians have deemed the Friday of Jesus’ death “Good Friday.” But why? How? When the day centers on death and defeat, what makes it good?
How we answer that question says so much about what we believe about God, the gospel, and our own lives. In a word, the event that makes Good Friday “good” is what happened on three days later.
When the sun went down on that fateful Friday, the disciples hid themselves from the world. On the Sabbath (Saturday), they did not move. But on the first day of the week, they awoke before dawn, walked to the place where Jesus was. And what happened next changed everything! The tomb was empty. The Lord was risen. His promises were true, and what the disciples would discover is that the worst day in history has now become the best day in history.
This historical reality has and will changed the world, and has the power to change every person who believes in it. Consider: Paul says that in comparison to the eternal weight of glory, today’s sufferings are light and momentary. While the pangs of death do not feel light and momentary, the power of the resurrection reinterprets our current pain, loss, and heartache, even as it reinterpreted Christ’s cruciform execution.
Even better, the resurrection is not just a palliative for temporary relief. It is not a best-selling strategy to make you feel better about yourself. No, the resurrection goes deeper. It tells us that life exists on the other side of death. Our best life is not now. It is later.
This is the gospel message: Jesus died on a rugged cross so that from the grave, he could raise the dead. Jesus does not help us find a way in the wilderness of life. Resurrection is not just a spiritual experience; it is a reviving flesh and blood. The broken bodies of believers buried in the ground will be raised to new life on the last day, and the goodness of Good Friday will be experienced for eternity. This is what makes Good Friday good.
This week as you prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, remember that the resurrection of Christ has the power to overturn the horrors and heartbreaks of life. Even more, the cross and resurrection of Christ secure the promise of abundant life. For all who call on the Lord will find the goodness of Good Friday to overwhelm the badness of any other day. Resurrection life is what Christ offers, and that is what is makes Good Friday good.