May 31, 2020St John United Methodist Church
Carl Blackburn • April 08, 2020
Most of my life, I’ve felt like using the word “good” to describe the day that Jesus was crucified just didn’t feel right. I’m sure that this has to do with the way that I tend to define the word “good.” I typically think of “good” as referring to something that is positive and uplifting, something that brings delight.
As far as I can discover from my web searches, the Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion—and thus the annual Friday that so many people around the world set aside to remember that Jesus was cursed, beaten, mocked, tortured, hung from a cross by few steel spikes, pierced in His side and died—likely began being called “good” sometime around the 12th Century AD. There are a number of theories as to how the word “good” came to be used; ponderings about whether or not the word was derived from a similar sounding word or meaning. However, I found no historical trail leading back to some particular Greek word from the Scriptures that would help me understand why we use this word, “good,” to describe the day that Jesus died. One more time for “good” measure, there is no conclusive evidence explaining why we use this seemingly ill-fitting word, “good,” as the label for the day Jesus died. (Perhaps you can feel my tension.)
Let’s set the word “good” aside for a moment—before we talk about what we DO know about the day Jesus died—and, let’s take a quick look at John 1 for a necessary reminder of who Jesus really is.
In the very beginning the Living Expression [JESUS] was already there.
And the Living Expression [JESUS] was with God, yet fully God.
2 They were together—face-to-face, in the very beginning.
3 And through his creative inspiration
this Living Expression [JESUS] made all things,
for nothing has existence apart from him [JESUS]!
4 Life came into being because of him [JESUS]….
10 He [JESUS] entered into the very world he [JESUS] created,
yet the world was unaware.
11 He [JESUS] came to the very people he [JESUS] created—
to those who should have recognized him [JESUS],
but they did not receive him [JESUS]. ~ JOHN 1:1-4a, 10-11, TPT
From the very beginning, Jesus was. He was with God in the beginning, and He was God in the beginning. He was/is the author of all creation, bringing every human being into existence. It is this very same Jesus who willingly and intentionally allowed some of the very same people who He brought into existence to spit on Him and hurl insults at Him, mocking and cursing His name. This very same Jesus willingly allowed some of the very same people who He brought into existence to beat Him and whip Him almost to the point of death. This very same Jesus willingly allowed some of the very same people who He brought into existence to torture Him as they hammered spikes through His flesh, nailing Him to a wooden structure, on which He would willingly give His very last agonizing breath.
NOTE: Lest we forget, we are a part of the very same people who this very same Jesus brought into existence. Someone else might have wielded the whip or swung the hammer, but it is because of ALL OF OUR SIN that Jesus willingly allowed His life-giving, perfect, sinless blood to be completely poured out.
And then, my mind drifts back to this word, “good.” Willingly and intentionally, Jesus was cursed, beaten, mocked, tortured, hung from a cross by few steel spikes, pierced in His side, suffocated and died. There is no way around the reality that these were HORRIBLE acts. Is “horrible” not the opposite of “good”? So why call this day “GOOD” FRIDAY?
7 Now, who of us would dare to die for the sake of a wicked person? We can all understand if someone was willing to die for a truly noble person. 8 But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! ~ ROMANS 5:7-8, TPT
THIS…THIS IS THE “GOOD” NEWS, FRIENDS! The absolute reality is that without Jesus’ death, there would be no resurrection. And, without Jesus’ resurrection, there would be no restoration or redemption for humanity. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Jesus willingly and intentionally allowed His life-giving, perfect, sinless blood to be completely poured out to cover over the wretchedness of our self-serving, others-diminishing thoughts, actions and behaviors (ie. SIN)…because He loves us! In 2 CORINTHIANS 5:21, it says that Jesus, WHO HAD NO SIN IN HIM, BECAME OUR SIN so that we—some of the very same people who He brought into existence, who would otherwise be covered in guilt and shame—might become His righteous ones.
…for his [JESUS’] life is light for all humanity.
5 And this Living Expression [JESUS] is the Light that bursts through gloom—
the Light that darkness could not diminish!
9 For the Light of Truth [JESUS] was about to come into the world
and shine upon everyone.
12 But those who embraced him [JESUS] and took hold of his [JESUS’] name
were given authority to become
the children of God! ~ JOHN 1:1-4a, 10-11, TPT
JESUS, the Light and Life of humanity, gave His life for you and me that we might live! This certainly fits my definition of “good”—positive and uplifting, bringing delight beyond understanding! So is today “GOOD FRIDAY”? ABSOLUTELY!
GRACE & PEACE, MY FRIENDS, ON THIS TRULY GOOD FRIDAY!