Thinking about where we got the name “Good Friday”? There are still theories out there as to why this day is called Good Friday. Some believe that there is something good about it. Or it was commonly called “God’s Friday” (speculative etymology). Lastly, and most likely, in antiquity “good” is synonymous with “holy”. For more see an article here.
But what is the significance of Good Friday? Today Good Friday is a day when we stop to think about the Cross in a unique way. We think about the Cross and the Resurrection throughout the year (hopefully). But today is a day when we, just for a moment, focus on the price of reconciliation between sinful humanity and a holy God. This is the day we stop to think what it cost God to be merciful to us and give us salvation instead of justice. Grace is free but it wasn’t cheap.
This is time when we stop from the noise of the year and pause in the silence. The moment of silence after the legs of the two other men were broken, after the spear was sent up into the side of Jesus of Nazareth. That moment when all creation stopped as Jesus hung dead. The world is silent there at the Cross. All mouths are closed.
On display is the work of Jesus. All those days of praise, all that time of being celebrated has ended here. On a hill, on a cross, alone. From Rome’s perspective this displays the price of rebellion. With a placard mockingly placed above him reading “The King of the Jews”. From God’s perspective this displays the price of rebellion, and what the placard reads is true. The justice of God has been executed. But on the other hand, the mercy and love of God is also on display.
The Cross is the most important event in the history of the world next to the Resurrection. The Cross is a situation of despair and tragedy. But as we remember the promises of God throughout the Old Testament, there is now hope. It is hard to even think about the hopeless situation the world would be in without the Cross. The Cross is a moment of history where in the scope of about four hours, the course of history would be forever changed.
Good Friday can be a day where we are made to feel incredibly guilty for our sin. And in one sense I think that is appropriate. But Good Friday is also the day we are made incredibly hopeful in the midst of our conviction. We can’t begin to understand the depths of our sin. Perhaps we can begin to have an inclination by understanding the cost that was paid for sin.
Yes, Sunday is coming, praise God. But before Sunday, there is Friday. Before the tomb there is the Cross. All have to come to this place of the Cross and be reminded of the price for our salvation. Then when we are at the tomb and see that it is empty. When we hear the words “He is risen!” We can exhale and reply “He has risen indeed!”