A Word with Pastor Stephen – April 10, 2020
“…Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 NIV)
People often ask me why we call it “Good” Friday. It was, after all, the day Jesus suffered the pain and humiliation of the crucifixion. It wasn’t a good day for Jesus. He even pleaded with his Father that this cup of suffering might be taken from him, but he remained faithful to the task placed before Him. ( Matt. 26:29) As Christians, we believe this day was the decisive turning point for all of creation. Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” (I Cor. 15:3)
Good Friday is good for us because the trial, gruesome punishment, and horrific crucifixion of Jesus brought us salvation. When Jesus said, “It is finished”, his mission had been accomplished. The resurrection was a grand exclamation point on what Jesus had accomplished for us. Death has been defeated. We too can inherit eternal life.
Good Friday should be more than just remembering the suffering and cross of Jesus. It should be more than being thankful for the gift of salvation. We should not just observe it from a distance. The cross of Jesus should invoke in us compassion. The cross should spark in us compassion for other people and compassion for ourselves and compassion for the world. We should be drawn to the cross of Jesus so we can take up our own cross and follow. The Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen says in beautifully, “In Jesus all human suffering is collected. The broken heart of Jesus is the broken heart of God. The broken heart of God is the broken heart of the world.”
The death of Jesus on the cross did bring “good” news to all those who believe. Is this Friday good for you? Amen.