I have always found it interesting that the Friday before Easter Sunday is referred to as Good Friday. Because I have geek-like tendencies I started studying the origin of the term and found out some interesting facts (don’t worry I won’t lay them all out here). It was interesting to learn that the early church did set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer in preparation for the coming Sunday services. However, in the third or fourth century the Friday before Easter took on extra meaning when it was a special day of prayer and services. When this happened it was originally known as “God’s Friday” to symbolize this was the commemoration of God’s judgment being poured out on His Son for the sins of the world. However, as time went on people thought “God’s Friday” sounded “too holy” and therefore they replaced the word “God’s” with “good” (if I was teaching on this in a service this is where I would say, but that is another sermon for another Sunday). Suffice to say it focuses on the events of this day in preparation for the celebration of Sunday.
However, you can certainly make the case that this for a Christian and possibly for the rest of the world is a “good Friday.” I heard Dr. Johnny Hunt say this a few weeks ago, “It’s kind of like when you break a bone and the doctor has to reset it. He has to hurt you to help you.” Except in this case, God didn’t hurt us, rather He allowed His Son to be hurt on our behalf. I have encouraged our church to read Isaiah 53 once per day this week. Many times we focus on verse 5 which says, “But He (Christ) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” This verse shows that Christ’s crucifixion was substituionary in nature. In other words, Christ took the wounding, the bruising, and the stripes we deserved. Listen to verses 10-11, “Yet it pleased the LORD (Yahweh-a reference to God the Father) to bruise Him; He (The Father) hath put Him (Christ) to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for siin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My Righteous Servant (a reference to Christ) justify man; for He shall bear their iniquities.” God had to hurt His Son in order to help all of mankind. Sin had broken the fellowship of man with God and in order to reset that bone, Christ had to lay down His life.
There is only one time recorded in Scripture that when Jesus spoke with His Father Jesus did not refer to Him as “Father.” It is recorded in Matthew 27:46 where Jesus says, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The one time in Jesus’ life that He didn’t have a perfect relationship with His Father was when Jesus was paying the debt we owed. That gives new meaning and understanding to what Paul wrote in Romans 5. Paul surmises that someone might die for someone they thought was a good person, but Paul pretty much says that no man would be willing to die for someone they thought was bad (after all, do any of us want to face the death penalty for a murder, child molester, addict, etc?). But listen to Romans 5:8 (which comes right after what Paul just previously said), “But God commendeth (demonstrated) His love toward us, that, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, when no one else would have died for us, Christ did!
I want to say this in closing, regardless of what the world tells you, and unfortunately regardless of what some Christians may say to you, God loves you and He showed it by giving you His best (Jesus) when you AND I were at our worst. There is no sin that Christ cannot free you from. There is no past that God cannot overcome, not because of who you are or what you can do, but because of what Christ did for you on the cross on this day we call Good Friday.
If you don’t have a church home or a place you plan on visiting this Sunday and you are going to be in the Smith Mountain Lake area, I want to invite you to visit us here at Westlake Baptist at 8:30 or 11:00. If you aren’t in the area I want to encourage you find a place to worship this Sunday, it just might change your life and your eternity to hear again and to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him