I’ve never considered why the name Good Friday isn’t “Good” until recently. For those unfamiliar with Good Friday, the best description I found to help people understand its concept is on Wikipedia. Wiki states, “Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday and may coincide with Passover’s Jewish observance. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy and Great Friday), and Black Friday.” (Wikipedia) I don’t consider death by crucifixion good but am humbled at the notion that Jesus’ death gives way to eternal life. I wouldn’t want to be immortal. But understanding how Jesus died and what his death represents reminds me of unconditional grace and love.
Can you imagine what Jesus was thinking on the way to his crucifixion? For those who believe in Jesus, he is viewed as a person of divine intervention. We tend to forget the humanity that he had. His struggles were bound, to be honest. He had emotions like the rest of us. He wanted the world to be and do better. He knew his death would change things forever, but that didn’t mean he had to like what happened. If anything, Jesus not only gave up his life for the world, but he gave a gift of the ultimate sacrifice. He died so that others could live and not perish.
I try to envision myself back in those times and find I wouldn’t have survived. Not only was the work challenging, but if you did anything wrong, you would be stoned to death or have body parts dismembered. Women had no rights and taught to mind their place. No. I would have gotten a lashing for speaking my mind.
The Bible speaks of Judas receiving silver for betraying Jesus. Judas told the Roman guards that whomever he kissed the feet of was the one to be arrested. You can read the story in John 18(1-24). There’s a lot to type, and I don’t want to be guilty of plagiarism. But paraphrasing the story is a little easier. The town wanted Jesus crucified even though Pontius Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus. He could find nothing wrong with him. Eventually, Pontius Pilate gave in to the pressure of succumbing to the town’s wishes. His heart did not want to follow through with the condemnation, but fate had other plans. His hand was forced by turning Jesus over.
Jesus had a crown of thorns placed on his head, was beaten, and forced to carry his cross to where he would perish. People mocked him, spat on him, and tormented him. In his quest to carry out God’s wishes, Jesus endured the evil and hatred with honor. He rarely spoke, and when he did, we have remembered his words throughout history. While he hung on the cross, Jesus cried out to God, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” and as he died, he stated, “It is finished.” That statement is a sobering thought. Jesus knew what his path was and why he had to die. It was never a question. Even when the devil tempted him, he kept his faith and heart with God.
Many of us are off work today. We have opportunities to remember how Jesus lived and died. For the believers, it is a sacred time that reminds us of hope. It’s been my belief that Jesus didn’t give himself time to question God’s will. I don’t know what went through his mind. I can’t begin to fathom the emotions he endured. I’m grateful that no matter what I may do in life, I have the freedom to believe I’m never truly alone.
So today, no matter what you may believe, remember this day as an opportunity for fresh starts. Maybe you are going through difficult times. You may feel overwhelmed – by life itself. That’s okay. Remember to breathe and take it all in. There are reminders everywhere we look that we are in a new cycle. For many of us, the winter is ending and bringing beautiful imagery to our senses.
Enjoy this day and share it with those that mean the most to you. Have a wonderful Good Friday, everyone!