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What makes Good Friday so “good”?

Have you ever wondered why we call it “Good Friday?” Isn’t Easter the good day of Holy Week? Friday seems more “dark” or “tragic” than anything.

The authors of the New Testament spend a considerable amount of time on the cross. Take the Gospel of John for example. A third of the book (John 13-19) records the last 24 hours surrounding Christ’s death compared to around 10% spent on the resurrection appearances (John 20-21).

Jesus left us with the Lord’s Supper to “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Yet we have no traditional meal to remember Sunday.

Why is the symbol of Christianity a cross, not an empty tomb?

We simply can’t skip ahead to Sunday morning.

The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is good in at least three ways.

1. Forgiveness requires payment.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:10

The word propitiation evokes images of the Old Testament sacrificial system. It’s the concept that sin equals death, and a sacrifice must be made to turn away God’s wrath. Jesus is the once and for all sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Good Friday is good for us because we would still be dead in our sins without the cross.

2. The Son of God was born and died in the flesh.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

The incarnation is a mysterious and necessary doctrine of the Christian faith. Jesus is the eternal Son who took on flesh and was born of the virgin Mary. Not only was Jesus born, but he lived, died, and rose again in the flesh.

On Good Friday, we see how extremely human the Son of God truly is. Jesus bleeds and dies just like the rest of us.

3. Without death, there is no resurrection.

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. - Mark 8:31

The greatest day in history follows the darkest day in history. Jesus knew that the road to Easter went through Good Friday. As Phil Wickham declares in a new worship song, “Friday’s good because Sunday’s coming.”

Good Friday teaches us profound lessons about forgiveness and the severity of sin. On Easter Sunday, we remember that the gospel is not one-dimensional. In Christ, we have resurrection life, the promise of new creation, and victory over sin, death, and the devil.


How do you celebrate Good Friday? Let me know in the comments below!

If you want to spend some time in contemplative prayer, check out this Prayer Room I created.

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