What’s so good about Good Friday? This is a question that I consider just about every year as we enter into Easter week. Why would they name the day we commemorate Christ’s brutal crucifixion “good”? It was horrible. Our Lord and Savior was beaten, abused, mocked and nailed to a tree while onlookers watched him die, not just from the pain and suffocation, but also from a broken heart. How can we call that “good”?
I’ve asked this question of pastors over the years but I’ve either not been satisfied with their answer or else I’ve forgotten it so I found myself thinking about it yesterday once again, “What’s so good about Good Friday?”
This morning I did a little Internet research on the subject, which turned up some pretty interesting answers. In general, it would appear that no one is totally sure of why the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday. Everyone seems to agree that this title showed up sometime in the 4th century but after that, there are numerous explanations given for its name. Some say it was possibly once called “God’s Friday” and the word “Good” was used to replace “God” because at some points in history God’s name was considered too holy even to speak. One author even quipped that the change from God’s Friday to Good Friday was due, perchance, to a hard-of-hearing monk who added an “o” and dropped the “s” and moved on. Another explanation is that the name, Germanic in origin, was “Gute Freitag” and literally means “good” or “holy” Friday.
Yesterday, when I was thinking about the whole “Good in Good Friday” question here’s what I came up with:
Because of Jesus’ horrible death, I get to live.
Because of Jesus’ willingness to be the ultimate blood sacrifice, my sins can be forgiven.
Because of Jesus’ time on the cross, I can go boldly to the throne of grace in prayer.
Because of Jesus, I get to fulfill God’s purpose for me in this amazing adventure called life.
So yes, on Good Friday, when we remember Christ’s death on the cross, I will grieve over what had to happen but know that without the crucifixion nothing would be “good.” Instead, because of Christ willingly giving his life to buy mine, everything has been made “good.”
And the best news? It’s what happened on the third day that takes the good to great! Christ’s resurrection from the dead brings with it the promise of eternal life for everyone who calls Jesus their Lord. And that, my friend, is reason to celebrate!