Why is it called “good” when it seems like such a depressing day? I really hate it that Good Friday has somehow become such a solemn and somber affair. Was it sad that Christ died for our sins? Why can we not go into a Good Friday service with shouts of glory and triumphant joy? We can! But somewhere along the line someone decided that Good Friday was the day to be sad. And that only on Easter Sunday could we put our smiles on again.
When Christ died on that bloody cross, he proclaimed, “It is finished.” Our redemption was as good as done, so sure was He of his power over sin and death. Was our salvation in question for those three days that He lay in the grave? By no means!
Surely the world, in the eyes of the disciples, was a very dark and frightening place in those days. Surely they rolled every moment that they had ever spent with Jesus over in their heads and over their somber mealtime conversations. Surely they went back and tried to remember every word He had ever said to them. He had promised them that this would happen. He had told them of the end result. Surely their faith was tried as they sat desperately in that room.
Had they lost all hope? Undoubtedly that first “Good Friday” and the days following felt anything but good, until his glorious entrance into the room where they gathered on Easter Sunday. I don’t doubt that they had watched his crucifixion in consternation wondering what good could possibly come of this event. But once they saw the risen Lord on Sunday and their hearts wanted to fairly explode with joy at what they were seeing come to pass, do you think they ever spent another Good Friday in somber remembrance at the death of Jesus? Somehow I don’t think the sadness and “lostness” they felt in those days were what stood out to them, except that perhaps they felt the precariousness of their positions before a Holy God if all that Jesus had said to them did not come to pass after all.
I just don’t think so. Clearly, I am speculating. Obviously I don’t know just what the disciples and Jesus’ other followers did to commemorate the day of his death in the following years but something tells me that having seen a dead person who by his death “brought many sons to glory,” who had defeated death itself, who had enabled them to know the point of all of history, past, present and future, who had by His death atoned for the sins of all of His people in all of time and made them presentable to God whose will it was to crush him — who was pleased with this sacrifice as a fragrant aroma in the nostrils of God — something tells me that even the day of his death would be commemorated with joy, with celebration and with rejoicing.
If you go to your Good Friday service today, do so with joy and with great rejoicing! Reflecting upon Christ’s death today does not mean you must do so with a grave look upon your face, for indeed Christ points to that day as the one that sealed you unto God in Him! Does He remember it with great sorrow and woe? It is the day He achieved for us, his children, our salvation! No hymns set to the mournful sounds of funeral dirges will do for this day. Rejoice in the death of Christ! Even as it pleased His Father in heaven that one final sacrifice had been made, so should it be our delight and joy!
Sing with joy today. This is not a mournful day solely about suffering. Christ’s death was the beginning of our true life.
18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.”[c] 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]
22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Rejoice if his death was for you, for the day he did it was indeed a GOOD day! And if you shed tears today, may they be tears of joy. Don’t sing today, as if you are attending a funeral, sing joyfully even as, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)
In the Cross of Christ I Glory
by John Bowring
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o’er take me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! It glows with peace and joy.
When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.