Good Friday

What's 'good'about it?

I’m still in downtown “sin city” on this “Good Friday” and it still seems weird to me as I walk through the hotel and see throngs of people at the check-in line. They flock here for the weekend. Someone said guests get some special weekend rates in Vegas. I still don’t get it. Why would people just deposit their money into these everywhere machines. When I walk through the casinos, you have to walk through the casinos for almost anything you do, if I’m going to the fitness room, or the pool or for a walk outside and looking for a restaurant, I can’t believe people are on these contraptions at all hours and with alcoholic drinks in their hands. I feel distressed by it and powerless to change it. I do pray, and I do try to engage people with kindness etc., but it seems fruitless to me right now, especially this weekend and today on Good Friday when people are flocking here to have a “good” time instead of reflecting on this day’s impact on humanity. Forgive me if I sound judgmental-not aiming to be or feeling so. I am just genuinely bewildered.

Today, I wondered why we call this day good when it should be a day of mourning the death, the loss of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.

During my Christian experience I’ve understood the tradition for calling this day Good Friday from the idea that God is good (Psalm 119:69) and something very good was accomplished on this Friday when Christ went to the cross. (Romans 5:9-11) Of course, these things are true. BTW, as an aside, it always surprises me when people say Christ was crucified or forced onto a cross, when if we truly read and understood scripture would discover that Jesus, Himself, said “I am the good shepherd…I lay down my life for the sheep…No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18) Mel Gibson got this right in his movie, The Passion of the Christ. Note the scene when Jim Caviezel (Jesus) finally picks up his cross. Note the relief on Caviezel’s face. It speaks of “at last – and – it is finished – I’ve accomplished my goal.” Also, You might want to watch the following video clip. A powerful few minutes where Caviezel speaks of his experience filming the movie and what true freedom is really all about.

Further reading in chapters pt(John 14-17) show over and over how Christ declares He is going away, or going to the Father and will come again. Of course, He spoke of His death and resurrection. When the world at His death would rejoice and evil would believe in evil’s triumph. Ultimately, this day would signal freedom and be the destruction of evil’s power over humanity’s present and eternal state of sin, and death it’s consequence.

God is good, there is no doubt, but the linguistics of Good Friday, however, points to the phrase more correctly understood as Holy Friday. The Oxford English Living Dictionaries offers this: “From good, in the sense ‘holy, observed as a holy day’.” Good Friday is a Holy day set aside for fasting, penance, reflection, and commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for sin and sinners.

Today, as I read these chapters in John’s Gospel I was reminded of the oft quoted (John 3:16-17) and the sweet man I saw standing in the chaotic Fremont Experience last night holding a sandwich board sign with this verse and the declaration of Christ’s work on behalf of all. He wasn’t screaming or shouting or being a “nuisance” at all. Just standing there with his declaration and handing out a small postcard with these words on the back: “God sent His Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life we never could. He took God’s wrath on the cross for sinners. Jesus paid the punishment for our sings against a Holy God. Then Jesus rose from the dead. Cry out to God for mercy and put your trust in Jesus (rather than ‘good works”) to save you.” I admired the man’s courage to stand and face a crowd of people who likely thought him to be a lunatic. He was braver than I.

We often see (John 3:16) displayed on signs in football stadium stands and perhaps because we do so often we pass over the significance of this verse and verse 17. These two verses offer God’s reason for sending His Son into the world and the subsequent result to mankind. The verses cover God’s motivation, God so loved the world; action, He gave His only begotten Son; humanities response, that whosoever should believe in Him; result, should not perish but have everlasting life. And verse 17 supports with this assurance, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him should be saved.”

We are not condemned; we are saved through Him.

It’s wonderful to have God’s word and His Holy Spirit to remind me of what a tremendous blessing I have received on this Good “Holy” Friday. Our good God did a wonderful thing by sending His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Tonight, I plan to watch The Passion of the Christ, and remember the Holy One – Jesus – Messiah – the Christ who suffered and died once and for all.

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