“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” Luke 23.46
So many significant events happened in the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life. From the Triumphal Entry, to the Last Supper, to his arrest in the Garden, his trial, and his crucifixion, it’s so much to keep up with. Often for me Maundy Thursday runs into the events of Good Friday in a way where I have a hard time keeping them all organized in my brain. The emotions of Jesus final week is almost more than I can handle.
But today we’ve come to what the church refers to as ”Good” Friday. What’s good about it? The Christ, whom we love and care for, was brutally murdered upon a Roman cross by the Jews. He’s been rejected by society, the religious ruling class and even by some of his closest friends and followers. He is left alone to die upon a cross for the sins of humanity. And we call that “good”?
It’s kind of like a cancer diagnosis that comes back at stage one or two. It’s not a stage four or five, but it’s the lesser of two evils. And the doctors and patients often say it was a ”good” diagnosis. But the truth is, it’s still cancer. It still sucks. It still can kill the mind and the body.
Calling Good Friday ”good” is kind of like that. It’s not good in any sense except for the fact that Sunday is coming. But during this week, when the people are rejecting the Son of God and the world seems to be collapsing in upon itself, it is anything but good.
And if that weren’t enough, the details of his death were so horrendous. Mel Gibsons Passion of the Christ depicts it accurately in my mind. Jesus is whipped and flogged, mocked and beaten, rejected and pierced, nailed and struck down. Even God turned his back on the Son. And we call that good?
I call it hell. I call it bad. I call it evil.
And yet, Jesus had to die. How else could our sins be remembered no more? How could we be reconciled to God? How could we be rescued if it weren’t for a Rescuer who came down from Heaven, who lived a human life, who suffered a horrible death, and who became for each of us the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?
Do you feel as terrible as I do at this moment? Is your heart breaking? Is your mind a mess, your emotions in the tank? Well then welcome to ”Good” Friday. It does get better than this, but not today.
“O Lord God. Rescue us. Forgive us. Find us faithful. For you are ”good” and your love endures forever.” Amen