What is So Good about Good Friday?

20110421_crossPhoto by abcdz2000. Article by Anil.

As I grew up in Kerala, I was perplexed by the Malayalam translation of “Good Friday” which is “Dukha Velli”, meaning ‘Sad Friday’. I was confused by these contradictions, why some people called it ‘Good’ and others called it ‘Sad’. At least I was sided with the latter, because the day is commemorated of the death of Jesus Christ, who is my guru and was killed in the hands of Jews and Romans.

But later in my days, once I learned more about who Jesus is and His sacrificial death, I changed my views and became convinced that Good Friday; the day when Jesus Christ was crucified in a bloody way, is indeed a good day and not a sad day.

To understand why Good Friday is good, we need to wait for two more days, i.e. till the Easter Sunday. So let me try to explain why I changed my views about this Friday. For that, let us look at this historical event from a different angle, a theological perspective.

Many of our concepts about God are skewed towards one of His characteristics, i.e. love. All of us love a God who is loving, kind and who answers our prayers. A friend of mine once told me that he would like a God who is like an ATM machine. Whenever he has some request, he just wants to go to God and expects his request to be answered, nothing more and nothing less.

We all would like to have a God like that. It is true that God is love. But the Bible portrays other facets of God’s character, like holiness and justice. It talks about a God who loves and at the same time as someone who executes justice. Love and justice are two important attributes of God’s character. It is interesting to find out how the love and justice of God go hand in hand.

Let’s explore the love of God first. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then the animals and birds were created followed by the humans Adam and Eve. Out of his love, God provided Adam and Eve everything they wanted to live happily. God made them in charge of everything in the world. But according to the scriptures, humans disobeyed God’s command, right from Adam itself.

Now let’s explore the justice of God. According to God’s standard, any disobedience is considered as ‘sin’. Sin means missing the mark. An infinitely holy God cannot tolerate any sin. Since it is God who is setting the standard, according to Him every act of disobedience is to be dealt with. And according to God’s word “wages of sin is death”. So even if you obey God in everything, yet you fail in one thing, you are missing the mark and the result is death. Think about people standing on the top of a building which is on fire. The only way to escape is to jump to the nearest building that is 10 feet away. Even if you jump 9.9 meters, you are going to fall to death. You are missing the mark.

Now let us come back to God’s love. God in His infinite justice has to deal with any disobedience, and at the same time God has to demonstrate His love to His people. So God decided to send His own son to bear the punishment for disobedience. So Jesus Christ came down to this world to bear all the punishment as a substitute for the human race, including you and me. Instead of me bearing the wrath of God, Jesus bore it.

God accepted the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The proof that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice was revealed two days after his death. Jesus was resurrected on the Easter Sunday. He later appeared to more than five hundred people including his disciples.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pillar of hope for humanity. We read in John’s gospel “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

So Good Friday is the day when God provided the solution for our disobedience. That is the day when the love and justice of God are exemplified at the best. So this Friday is good for all the people of this planet. But I still consider it sad; that even though God paid a great price for our disobedience, still a lot of people do not want to accept his sacrifice.

Some people think, by doing good works, we can offset the bad thing we do. That means, they think that, the good works they do are pleasing to God. But that's not the case with God. All our good works are like filthy rags in the eyes of the God. Imagine if someone invites you to his home for a party and before the food is served he announces that, though he prepared very good food for all, accidentally one drop of poison has fallen into the food. Even if the host says, this is still a good food, no one with any sense will dare to eat that. This is the case with us. One bad thing we do is like a poison. A God, who is infinite holy, cannot accept anything with impurity. That's why a perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ is essential.

When the Love of God meets the Justice of God, a door is opened for us to meet God. The key to open that door is to call in faith. Through faith we have to open that door. This indeed is a Good Friday for all the humans who have found that key.

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