Passion Week: Is Good Friday really that good?
Ivan Feng // April 16, 2019, 11:39 am
I love Good Friday.
It’s a public holiday and that means I don’t have to go to school. It’s also the only holiday that is sure to fall on a Friday. I can make plans to go shopping, watch movies and stay up super late because the next day will be Saturday – meaning I can sleep in all the way.
This is surely the reason that makes Good Friday good.
However as I reflect about Good Friday, I realise it’s not so good after all. How can Good Friday be that good when first of all, it convicts me of my sin?
The story of Good Friday, in short, is Jesus dying on the Cross for my sin. It’s not so nice to hear that we’re helpless sinners. For if we were not helpless, we would be able to save ourselves. We would have no need for Jesus.
Jeremiah 2:22 (HCSB) tells us, “Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of soap, the stain of your sin is still in front of Me. This is the Lord GOD’s declaration.” Isaiah 64:6 (CSB) reads similarly: “All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”
The best of our efforts cannot even do a thing for our salvation. How can Good Friday – a day which reminds me I am helpless in my sin – be good for me?
My second objection to calling Good Friday “good” is that Good Friday is not about me.
It’s about Jesus, and that draws people’s attention away from myself. I love stories like David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) because they make me feel inspired and able to defeat great enemies. I also love the story of Joshua (Joshua 10:8-14) because it’s nice to hear that God is going to defeat my enemies and guarantee victory for me.
The best of our efforts cannot even do a thing for our salvation.
But Good Friday is like a message made for Jesus. Philippians 2:7-11 (HCSB) tells me the whole story.
“And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So how can Good Friday that exalts Jesus be good for me? I’m only used to things that are about me.
My last objection that Good Friday is good is because it reminds Christians that suffering is inevitable.
I love the message of blessing and security in Jesus, but Good Friday reminds me that Jesus also suffered and died in obedience to God the Father.
As His followers, it means Christians cannot escape pain and suffering in this world. Jesus acknowledges this fact by saying: “A disciple is not above his teacher, or a slave above his master. It’s enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master. If they called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more the members of his household!” (Matthew 10:24-25 HCSB).
Even Peter who initially denied Jesus, later understood this and said: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
So Good Friday is proof that Christians will suffer for Jesus. It does not guarantee me comfort, friends or health. Therefore, how can a day that reminds me of suffering be good for me?
So what can I say?
I realise that Good Friday is going to be bad for me because it reminds me of my sin, shifts any attention from myself to Jesus and reminds me to be ready to suffer like Jesus – for Jesus’ sake. Good Friday is not good for me because it was never meant for me. I’m not taking centre stage.
Hence, Good Friday can truly be good for one purpose: Because Good Friday is of God, by God and for God.
- Good Friday convicts me of my sin: I recognise I need God.
- Good Friday brings my attention to Jesus: God alone deserves all the glory as the author of our salvation.
- Good Friday tells me that I will suffer: The cost of discipleship and following God becomes clear.
Thus we see Good Friday as something that’s not so good because of the consumeristic culture we live in – me, me, me. Good Friday is only good when we come to realise we don’t live for ourselves but to glorify God alone.
So do you want a human-centred Good Friday or Christ-centred Good Friday? The choice is yours.
Want to discover more about Jesus and the hope that we have in Him? You’re invited to the Celebration of Hope from 17-19 May 2019 at the National Stadium. Be inspired by the stories and songs of hope at any of the 6 rallies. To chope your free tickets, visit: onelink.to/coh2019
THINK + TALK
- How have your Good Fridays been celebrated in recent years? Let’s take the focus off ourselves and gaze at Jesus.
- Do we truly grasp what Good Friday means? Take the time to thank Jesus for what He has done for all of us.