Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday??

‘What is so good about “Good Friday?”’

            As a teenager I often pondered that question.  After all what can possibly be “good” about Jesus’ death upon the cross like a common criminal?  It seems like the greatest contradiction in terms.  But then, everything about this week is full of bold contrasts.  A crowd of cheerful welcomers turns into a crowd of jeering mockers.  Joy and love give way to fear and hatred.  Resounding “Hosanna’s” become deafening cries of “Crucify Him!”  Life is seemingly replaced by death.
            Because Christ Jesus loves us, “He chose the nails.”  He knew that there was, ultimately, no other way.  Jesus knew that “the Son of Man {must} be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14b-15; NKJV).  Eternal life is possible because only Jesus’ death brings salvation.  Jesus did this for me. . .for you. . .for all of us.
            Jesus loves us so much that He endured unspeakable agony and pain.  Jesus’ great love for us kept Him on the cross.  But the love almost goes unnoticed, seemingly eclipsed by the negative emotions that surround the cross.  Betrayal, denial, and hatred appear to speak much louder.  What makes that so “good?”
            Of course we see Good Friday through the lens of Easter.  In a way we get ahead of ourselves.  As a general rule, we do joy and triumph far better than we do crucifixion and death.  So we yield to the temptation to skip from Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry to Easter’s joyful victory.
That is not to say that Good Friday is without its own brand of triumph.  After all, this is not just your typical, ordinary, normal run of the mill Friday.  Without the crucifixion there would be no resurrection.  “The hard wood of the cross” (BCP, p. 101) is the doorway of God’s love and grace.
In his book Six Hours One Friday, popular author and pastor Max Lucado writes that Good Friday is good because those six hours set up three permanent anchors . . . anchors that can help us as we face the tempests and storms of life.
v      “Anchor Point #1-- My life is not futile.  This rock secures the hull of your heart.  Its sole function is to give you something which you can grip when facing the surging tides of futility and relativism . . . Someone is in control and I have a purpose.
v     Anchor Point #2-- My mistakes are not fatal.  It’s not that {God} loves what you did, but He loves who you are . . . The One who has the right to condemn you has provided the way to acquit you.  You make mistakes.  God doesn’t.  And {God} made you.
v     Anchor Point #3-- My death is not final.  There is one more stone to which you should tie . . . It blocked the door of a grave.  It wasn’t big enough, though . . . {Jesus} only went in to prove He could come out.  And on the way out {Christ} took the stone with Him and turned it into an anchor point.”[1]

My life is not futile.  My mistakes are not fatal.  My death is not final.  Three strong anchor points.  Three important life lessons . . . and not just on Good Fridays, but everyday.


[1] From Six Hours One Friday as condensed and reprinted in The Inspirational Study Bible NKJV, Max Lucado editor, © 1995.

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