Good Friday. Good Friday?
I recall during my years of growing up in Cass Lake we had vacation from school that day. I thought it was rather appropriately named "Good Friday."
It was good because it was another day of vacation from school, which, each year by the time spring was approaching, had become a long, drawn-out affair. I was happy to be away from it, if just for a few days. How I enjoyed those times of being able to go outside and play in the snow (usually) or the pools of water that formed in the low spots of the lawn.
It was a joyous time of frolicking. Of course it was a "good" Friday.
My family was active in a church in Cass Lake, and as I grew older, I began to realize that Easter was also part of that vacation time. Now Easter was a wonderful time as well. We got to go on Easter egg/candy hunts. We had a special breakfast at church. (I grew to love soft-boiled eggs there. They were the pink ones.) There were Easter baskets on Easter morning. Family often came to visit, or we went to visit family.
So for me for many years, Good Friday led into "Good" Easter Sunday.
I don't recall at what age I began to realize that Easter was about the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But I do know that as that truth sank into my developing mind, somewhere along the line it occurred to me that Jesus had to die in order to be raised from the dead. (Smart, huh!)
But when did He die? Three days before he arose. Friday. Hmmm. That means he died on Friday. That same Friday we celebrated as vacation each year. That Good Friday!
I became thoroughly confused in those years as to why it was, then, a Good Friday if Jesus the Savior had died on that day. It certainly was not a good day for Him. The agony of the crucifixion; the kangaroo court that sentenced him to die; being abandoned by all his close friends, one even denying he knew him; being betrayed by one of those friends, which started this whole process. Each detail, as it was learned, added to my confusion.
What was so good about all that? Why had the church over the years referred to it as such? Why not Black Friday or Terrible Friday or Friday of Sorrows? For some time in my life, confusion ruled in this regard.
John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, used a term called "prevenient grace" to describe that aspect of God's grace being here for us even before we know it. God is seeking us out to have a relationship with us, to love us, to save us from our sin, to enable us to be all that God has created us to be.
As I ponder those years of confusion, I now realize that God's prevenient grace was there with me. The Holy Spirit was seeking after me, guiding me to the truth of what Good Friday is all about. It is good because of what Jesus did for all the world, when he was crucified on that cross at Calvary.
He, the perfect, spotless, Lamb of God, became the sacrifice for the debt of all our sins when he willingly went to that cross, tortured, beaten and alone. For He alone could pay the price for my sins. He alone could pay the price for your sins. For He alone is the One without sin.
So it is Good Friday because of the price Jesus Christ paid for the debt of all our sins. It is good for me because I have accepted this free gift of God, given for me. It is intended by God to be good for you, too.
Is it? Have you accepted the gift that Jesus' crucifixion is? If not, is this not a good Friday to really learn the meaning of Good Friday?
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