By Dr. Harry Kelm
NAB Executive Director
Good Friday. What an extraordinary way to refer to this day. Randy Alcorn asks, “What is good about Good Friday? Why isn’t it called Bad Friday? Because out of the appallingly bad came what was inexpressibly good.”
On that day so many years ago, the followers of Jesus lived the pain and heartache of the tragic suffering and death of the only truly good man they ever knew. They had pinned their hopes, plans, and dreams on Jesus to be the Christ. He was to be a Messiah they were looking for. The disciples and followers of Jesus were anticipating Jesus would overthrow the earthly rule of the Romans and give them freedom from the oppression they endured. They were anticipating God would return his people to prominence and blessing.
Jesus dying on the cross seemed to squash those hopes, plans, and dreams.
Jesus knew this moment would come, that it needed to come. The greatest bondage of the people of that time, and the people of all time, is the bondage of sin. Sin brings brokenness between us and God, between us and all that God wants us to know and experience in this life and in eternity. Sin brings brokenness between us and others. It brings brokenness between us and God’s creation.
Jesus knew sin would be defeated by his death on the cross and his resurrection to life. Jesus knew his sacrifice would bring about the redemption that was needed by God’s people and by their oppressors, by us and whoever and whatever oppresses us. Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (NIV). Jesus came to bring us what we desperately needed.
The cross was an instrument of death. It would have been the bringer of appallingly bad and awful news to the disciples and followers of Jesus. However, the cross brings the good news of redemption to us, to our world. In Jesus, we are given life abundant, life to the full. On Good Friday, we remember the suffering and death of Jesus. It is good because we know the story does not end at the cross. In the living Jesus, we know the goodness and grace of God.