For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 1 Peter 3:18
Today we remember the brutal suffering and horrifying death of Jesus Christ. To be honest, every time Good Friday comes around, there’s always a slight hesitation in my heart to call it “good.” I remember last year when my seven-year old son kept asking me how this day could be so good when something so bad happened. It’s a very legitimate question.
If you look at Good Friday without the lens of faith, you may rightfully conclude that it’s the saddest day in history. The world killed the greatest force for love ever known to humanity. The one person who truly made the world a better place was wrongfully murdered. Here was Jesus, destined for greatness, but his life was tragically cut short. It is true that this is the saddest day in history. The problem is that this perspective misses the point of Good Friday entirely.
1 Peter 3:18 tells us why this day, of all days, is good. It was on that dark Friday that Christ did not just suffer and die, but “suffered once for sins.” Jesus was “put to death in the flesh” in order to be our righteous substitute. If the punishment for our sin is death, Jesus had to experience death on our behalf to free us from that punishment. Jesus suffered for our sins so that he could free us from that same suffering. We will never have to pay the penalty for our cosmic treason against God. Never.
That means we rightfully call this Good Friday because no matter what we must endure in this life, it will never compare to the suffering of Jesus for our sin.
Not only that, Jesus exchanged our death for his “that he might bring us to God.” In other words, he died so that we might experience intimacy, acceptance, and peace with our Heavenly Father. This would be impossible without the death of Christ. We were alienated from God because we had rejected him. And now, through the blood of Christ, we have been reconciled to God. We will never experience the condemnation we deserved (Romans 8:1), but instead we get to experience the very depth of love and joy that Jesus has with the Father (John 15:9-11).
That means we can rightfully call this Good Friday because the death of Jesus means life for all those who embrace Jesus as Savior and King.
Because we can find satisfying life in Jesus, we don’t need to demand that our jobs, our families, our recreation, etc. to give us the life we always wanted. We can look to Jesus to be our life (Colossians 3:3). We can experience the abundant life of Jesus because Jesus experienced the condemning death for us.
So, yes, let this day fill your heart with the sadness it deserves. We killed the king of glory. But, let your heart also be filled with wonder that Jesus died because he loves you. Yes, you. Not future you, but you. With all your struggles, faults, and messes. He died to bring you home to the Father. He died to destroy death and give you life.
This truly is Good Friday.
*This blog was originally posted on 03/25/16