Someone once asked me, slightly paraphrased, “Why do they call it ‘Good Friday’ when what happened was so bad?” As Christians, we’d all have our standard answers, but in a time where very little about our circumstances seems “good,” it seems worth a deeper examination.
How do we find concrete and practical hope for our darkest hour within Jesus’s darkest hours?
On the night before His death, Jesus went to the garden to pray. Matthew and Mark’s gospels both recount Jesus telling His disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Mk. 14:34; Matt. 26:38)
It tells us even Jesus struggled with grief and sadness in the midst of trouble. He knew the enormity of what was to come, and it weighed his heart down, too.
We have a Lord who understands every bit of our hearts deepest sufferings and anxieties, because He’s endured that and more.
This is where the “good” in Good Friday begins to come in.
At this point in the story, how many of us would turn tail and run in the face of such torment and rejection? Jesus did not.
“Yet I want your will to be done, not mine,” he prayed, and then he persevered.
This is the good news in Good Friday.
We all have hope now because we have a Savior who surrendered to His Father’s will, willingly giving up his life with a love deeper than we can imagine.
“Because of the joy awaiting him,” the writer of Hebrews says, “he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.”
What followed in the ensuing hours is something I am not sure could be captured in our worst nightmares, but if we want to find hope, it is crucial we not gloss over.
An innocent man was arrested, falsely accused, brought before multiple authorities, rejected in favor of a criminal, and turned over to death by his own people.
Jesus underwent unspeakable torture, physical and emotional agony, and relentless mocking and ridicule as he faced worse than a common criminal’s punishment...
...BECAUSE HE LOVED US THAT MUCH...
If we challenge ourselves to truly contemplate and reflect on the horrors of Good Friday, is there anything we endure today Jesus did not endure willingly, sacrificially a thousand times over as he carried our sins up the hill to the cross?
Every burden you carry, every ounce of hopelessness and despair in your weary soul, every sin, every struggle, every fear – Jesus carried it all on his own shoulders that dark morning, so you would no longer have to.
And then three days later, He stepped out of the grave and overcame even death.
There is nothing we face today He has not already overcome, and the Good News is He still lives.
Paul writes, “Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This love means in our darkest hours, the promise of life is always on the horizon, if we will only call out to Him.
That is the ‘good’ in Good Friday.
Daniel Kiewel is a reporter with the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.