Today is Good Friday, when Christians around the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
This may seem like an unusual designation for a day of such horrific suffering and death. We know from historical accounts that crucifixion as practiced by the Romans of that time was not only excruciating (where we get that word, in fact), but aside from the physical torture, it was a humiliating way to die; displayed naked in full view of everyone.
Although there were some mockers in the crowd, as well as those who had pushed for Christ to be killed in this way, for many this was a shocking, completely unexpected end to the week begun with Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry. No one had time to prepare for such a turn of events.
Why, then, would anyone consider this day to be Good? Are Christians merely being perverse?
You know the adage about hindsight being 20-20, of course. Well, although Christ’s followers were in despair and disarray on Friday night and all day Saturday, Sunday held a glorious surprise with the news of Our Savior’s resurrection. Suddenly, everything changed. God’s Word lays out the explanation for the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice. While His suffering wasn’t in any way pleasant or enjoyable, it is not only proof of the goodness of God, but it was good in itself as the means of forgiveness and eternal life for all believers. It is especially good because it gives us hope.
The lesson seems particularly appropriate this year. Our world is in despair and disarray following the unexpected assault of this pandemic. We had been enjoying a life of plenty and freedom and have been plunged into fear, shortages, and isolation.
Whatever lies ahead for us after this pandemic goes away, the blessings of that long ago Good Friday and resultant Resurrection Sunday remain.
He lives, and He will see us through.