Have you ever wondered, “Why do we call it Good Friday?”
It seems ironic that we would celebrate as Good a day that was full of distress, agony and deliberate injustice; a day that resulted in the painful execution and death of a man who had done so much good and in whom so many had pinned all their hopes on!
A harrowing account
That irony is well captured by Luke in the harrowing account of Jesus' crucifixion:
A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
The women’s wailing for Jesus without relief, the hopelessness Jesus speaks about at the heart of human deeds, and his criminal-like execution, all paint a despairing picture.
What could be good about that?
A prayer with hope
It is Jesus’ prayer from the cross for the guilty that points us to the good God was doing for us all.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Who really needs saving, from what and by whom?
Jesus’ prayer for the guilty, Luke’s narration of events reminiscent of Psalms 22 and 69 and the people’s sneering—commanding him to save himself, even by one of the other criminals—is all filled with irony.
To save himself would be to abandon his mission and prayer: “For the Son of Man,” Jesus had said earlier, “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:1-10 NIV11).
A reason to be glad
Ironically it was not the religious, the watching crowd, nor one of the crucified criminals who recognised their need for forgiveness and salvation.
Such recognition finally comes from the other criminal hung with Jesus:
“But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
What’s so good about Good Friday?
To the one who admits their guilt before God and asks for forgiveness, Jesus promises eternal paradise beyond the grave.
How good is that?
Written by Lachlan Deck
Lachlan and his wife Trish and their kids are glad for both Good Friday and Easter Sunday.