3 Reasons Why Good Friday is Good

Published March 25, 2016 by

3 Reasons Why Good Friday is Good
by Aaron O’Harra

Galatians 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

I remember sitting in a packed theater in 2004 with many other curious movie-goers awaiting to see the most anticipated movie about Jesus—The Passion of the Christ. At this point, I had already heard much about the movie and the reactions it elicited. One of the common rumors was that many of the viewers could be heard crying during the final scenes. From first hand experienced, the rumors turned out to be true. As the movie came to a close, sniffles and sobbing could be heard echoing the walls of the room.

At the time, this reaction didn’t sit well with me, but I didn’t exactly know why. But now in retrospect, and having understood the gospel in a more profound way, I understand why I was uneasy with this response. Galatians 6:14. “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” These words from Paul seem awful strange and quite the far cry from the salty cheeks in that room.

It seems strange that Paul would “boast” or “rejoice” in an instrument used for execution—and a brutal one for that matter. It would be like saying, “I boast in the electric chair.” “I rejoice in the firing squad.” It seems that the crying that was heard in the theater would be the normal response in witnessing the sufferings of the innocent. So Paul’s response seems to be the odd one, at least from non-Christian’s perspective. But God’s word commends a rejoicing in the execution of Jesus. Feeling sorry for Jesus should not be our response to the cross. We aren’t to be weeping unless they are tears of joy or our brokenness. If we aren’t boasting in what see on Good Friday, we know very little of God. So why are we to boast? Why are we to rejoice in the brutality laid upon Jesus? Here are three reasons.

1) Jesus Was Not a Vicim
I speculate that many of the movie-goers, when witnessing Jesus’ torture had viewed him only as a man, and therefore only as a victim. But this is not who Jesus was. Jesus himself says in John 10:17-18,

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 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.

When we read in the gospels of the beatings on Jesus’ back, the plucking of his beard, the fists to his face, the thorns on his head, the spear in his side, the nails in his hand, the jeers of the crowd, the mocking, the hurled insults, we must remember that it didn’t take Jesus off guard. None of this was a surprise to him. “No one takes my life from me.” Not only did Jesus predict to his disciples his own death and suffering, but we see here that behind all his suffering, was his own authority to do it. We should rejoice in the cross of Christ this Good Friday because ultimately it was God’s sovereign work.

2) The World Was Crucified to Me
The world has nothing to offer us that is lasting. Whatever pleasures we pursue as a means of finding joy apart from God not only sell us short and disappoint, but leave us worse off than we were before. Before our faith in Jesus, we were all bound to pursue these God-less pleasures (Col. 2:13), and knew nothing else besides them. But it was through the cross of Christ by which the old sinful passions that ruled over us were put to death. “The world was crucified to me.” In Jesus’ death those unholy desires that once reigned in us and left us hungry for more were buried with Jesus on that Good Friday. It is a good reminder today that

all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17).

3) I Was Crucified to the World
Not only does the world and all its desires no longer have its grip on us because of the cross, but through the cross of Christ our residency has changed. Jesus has prepared for us a new world (John 14:3). This world is not our home. The cross of Christ has bought and secured for us an eternal dwelling with God, one that is not passing away like the one we are living in. Philippians 3:20-21 says,

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

There would be no hope beyond our cold, dark coffin if there were no cross of Christ. But since he has died and risen; and since he is with the Father this very day; and since we ourselves were put to death to this world; we have an unshakable confidence that this world riddled with death is not final. We have a new country, with new colors and smells, with a bluer sky, more rich than anything we’ve laid eyes upon. And most importantly, we have Savior more precious than the finest of gems. We have Christ Jesus.

Why is Good Friday Good?
This is why we call it Good Friday. This is why instead of sobs of tears at the foot of the cross of Christ, we rejoice and we boast. This is why when we observe the slaughtering of the Son of God, we do not weep as those who have no hope, but we exult, knowing that all creation, since the beginning, has been waiting for this moment, the crushing of the serpent (Gen. 3:15), and the eradication of evil (Rev. 21:4). This is why the death of Christ is good, because in it, death has died. Therefore, let all his people, and all creation proclaim with one voice:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

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