Summary: The day we call "Good Friday" was a pretty gruesome day. So how can we call it "Good Friday"? I believe we have four reasons why we can.
Here we are again gathered for what we call a “Good Friday” service. I’ve always thought as a kid and even into young adulthood that it was such an odd name for this day. After all what happened on that day in so many ways wasn’t good, it was a tragedy. There was an innocent man railroaded. A man who not only never truly saw justice on that day, but was treated like a savage and a worthless animal. There was tremendous fear on that day for those who were close to Jesus. Would they be next? There were those who just knew that Jesus was going to be their conquering hero who would save them from Rome. But how could He be that person since he allowed himself to be taken captive? There was disillusionment that turned to anger there. Many of them would turn against Jesus when He didn’t fit their expectation of them. How could this be a day that we refer to as good. In other countries there are different names for this day. On the surface I can understand the names they have given it better than our own. For instance, in those countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland they refer to it as “Long Friday.” For a lot of people that experienced that day I can only imagine that they felt like this day would never come to an end. I can see how someone would refer to it as “Long Friday.” Then in Germany it is referred to by some as “Friday of Mourning.” I can certainly understand that title for the day. The events of that day left a lot of people devastated, just totally devastated. Not only did they feel like their hopes and dreams had been smashed. But their Savior, Jesus, the man they had spent so much time with and loved was now dead. There was definitely a sense of mourning there. Now there are other countries and names that they have as well. In many Latin Countries and some others they refer to it as “Holy Friday.” But how do we get the name “Good Friday.” Some think it was a bad translation and it should have been God’s Friday. There are different theories on how we ended up with the name “Good Friday.” But is it possible that a day so brutal, a day filled with such injustice, can really be called good? I think we can look at this day and see good. So tonight I want to look at four reasons why we call it Good Friday.
Like we said that day was a brutal and difficult day. If we look back at the gospel accounts, we know that Jesus was mocked and made fun of. He was hung on a cross between two thieves, He who has never sinned, hanging on a cross between two common criminals with one of them hurling insults at Him and mocking Him as well. When you look at other portions of scripture from the gospel we know that He was spit on. Some people struck Him with their fists, others even slapped Him. We know that he was flogged. What does it mean to be flogged? He was beaten with a whip that had nine lashes with sharp objects on the end of them that rip into the flesh. It’s so brutal that many never make it past that point. They die from the injuries of the flogging. We know that He had a crown of thorns placed on His head and the Roman soldiers beat Jesus on the head driving those thorns into His head. So you ask, “How can that be good?” It gave us a glimpse of just how good God’s love really is. We know that Jesus didn’t have to endure this. He could have chosen to keep His place next to the Father and never leave the comfort of Heaven. But love wouldn’t allow Him to do that. He could have called down angels from heaven to deliver Him from this painful ordeal that He was going through. But He never once cried “uncle.” His love for you and I wouldn’t allow Him to. He had to die on that cross for the plan to be complete, a plan that was based on love. You know the amazing thing about His love, is that He knew many of us would disappoint Him. Many people that He died for could care less right now about what He did on the cross for them. Yet He died for them as well. Paul speaks it so eloquently in Romans 5:7,8. “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s a lot easier to die for a great person, a person of outstanding stature. But to die for people who are sinners, I don’t think many of us could even imagine it. Yet, Christ died for sinners. He died for each and every person. I don’t know about you, but I look at the mistakes that I have made in my life and I can’t imagine why anyone would die for me. Yet for some reason Christ did. It’s called an incredible love. God’s love is so deep and incredible that many times even believers struggle to know just how deep His love really is. One of the great prayers that Paul writes in the scriptures is a prayer that He had for the Ephesians. Listen to part of that prayer in Ephesians 3:17,18. Starting in the middle of verse 17 it reads, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” God’s love runs so deep it’s hard to fathom. Paul wanted more than anything for those at Ephesus to realize just how much God truly loved them. There are many Christians today who struggle with just how much God really loves us. There are many believers who have this concept of God as someone who is just waiting for you to mess up and when you do He is taking your salvation back right then and there on the spot. How could a God who went through everything that He did on that day for your salvation, just be waiting for you to mess up so He could take it back. When we mess up God loves us so much that He seeks to draw us back to Him. How else can you explain the fact that Jesus says I will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go looking for that one. Why else would He give us His Holy Spirit to convict us and help us to know that we need to repent. That Good Friday gives us an incredible picture of God’s love for us. God’s love is not only good, it goes way beyond good. How else could someone go through so much for someone? It had to be love.