Why do we call Good Friday good?

When A Very Pure And Innocent Man Died?

On this Good Friday I woke up with this question coming from within me. Why do we call “Good Friday” Good?   Any normal thinking human being would be outraged at a completely innocent man being put to death but not only death but through this gruesome torture called crucifixion.  A brief study in crucifixion will enlighten one to the agony one would experience by hand of the Romans and their ability to inflict the greatest amount of pain with a very slow death.  It is a well known fact that depending on the stamina of an individual one could literally survive days through this torturous experience. Every element about this type of death was to inflict excruciating pain to the individual. The placement of the nails on nerves that would radiate pain and located at joints that would enable the process by supporting one’s weight without falling off the cross. It was a common practice to have the knees bent in order that one could push up from the nail in the feet in order to breathe. Simply what happens is one begins to suffocate when they can no longer push up to breathe through the extreme cramping and spasms of the muscles of the body with the outstretched arms. All this is a constant repeating cycle of our inherent drive to stay alive. With one’s bent knees one can push up to breathe but by doing so, they are forcing more weight onto the nerve endings that stream pain to the individual until through the pain and the extreme cramping of all the muscles through the torso they can no longer push up to breathe. They begin to sag and the lungs can no longer begin to take in air to breathe.  This begins a cycle of one pushing up to breathe and then sagging and then pushing up to breathe and sagging. I suppose by now you can imagine the process. Due to some of  the Jewish customs and laws, a common practice to quicken death was to break the legs of the individual in order to disable the person the ability to push up to breathe and therefore suffocate.   

In regards to our remembrance of Good Friday we are referring to the case of Jesus of Nazareth. With evening coming and the Jewish customs the Roman executioner came to Jesus to break his legs but found him already dead and to ensure this fact he thrust his sword into his side piercing his pericardial sack and out flowed blood and then water confirming death. Does this mean that Jesus was weak? Certainly not, but confirmed Jesus’ words that no man takes his life but he laid it down. His death was but a choice He had made to fulfill all things concerning himself. Jesus did die while on the cross but not because of it, he died with a pierced and busted heart but not because of it. He died because He chose to die and lay his life down for the sheep or better yet us. A very selfless sacrifice.

Photo by James Kessler

In light of this event, why do we call Good Friday good? An innocent man died and we should call that good? To understand “good” I went back to the beginning and read about what God had created and every time He created something, God said it was good.  The sky, earth, water, night, day, vegetation, fish, birds, animals all these things God saw them and said it was good. But when I came to man, made in God’s image and likeness, I noticed he changed His phrase from good to very good. So man in God’s eyes is very good. This to me speaks of how God feels about himself, since man was but a reflection of Himself. In scripture God reveals Himself to be “good” , to be “love” to have no beginning or end, to know all things, to be equally present at all places at the same time, regardless of space and time, to be all powerful, to be One and only God. The great “I AM” and that He is Father. Therefore since He is Father, He must have children. So Adam and Eve were son and daughter of God. However, as it is recorded man and woman made a mistake and disobeyed God in the garden. Man once being a son and friend of God, now perceived that he was separated, independent of, and no longer a friend/son of God but now an enemy. Now the account of man was blemished, tarnished, and out of balance, in effect lifeless, apart from God. Man now owed a debt he could not pay. God knowing all this in advance chose to set in place a plan that would reconcile man’s record. So through years of revealing this plan to His people, through leaders and prophets time came to a fullness and God had another Son, this Jesus of Nazareth. He spoke of Jesus as His beloved son in whom He was well pleased or in other words a “Very good Son” one who knew no sin.  Now man had developed and grew into a religious system of sacrifices for their sin but this system was only a covering over and had to be repeated every year. A system that oppressed the people of God. Therefore God chose to do something once for all to totally and completely restore and reconcile man to Himself by making a new agreement or covenant that God would keep, this time it would be permanent and once for all time. God had used the Jewish religious leaders, Pontius Pilate, and the Roman government to execute His Beloved Son to satisfy the debt of the old agreement or covenant and therefore initiate this new covenant. This pleased the Father or was “good” to Him, in that He was in Christ reconciling the world back to Himself. He who knew no sin (Jesus) became sin for us that we now God’s children would have a right standing with Him. We in Christ become God’s sons and daughters forever without end and in Him (Jesus) we are made new beings. This is all done for us and therefore we decree Good Friday as GOOD because it was good to God the Father.

How do I know it was good to God the Father? The answer as well as all truth is simple. The sacrifice was accepted. How do I know that? Jesus the Christ, our Savior though He did completely die in our place did not remain dead but was raised on the third day after His death. Therefore the GOOD NEWS is this: Be reconciled to God because He does not count your sins against you, your debt has been already paid in full and the VERY GOOD NEWS is in Christ Jesus you are now and forever Sons and Daughters of the Most High God. You are His friend and no longer separated from HIM! Be reconciled because you are. Today is the day of salvation. Jesus said that He came that we would have life and life abundantly!

Joe Helms

Copyright 2013

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