Saturday, March 30, 2013

What's So Good About Good Friday?

One of my most vivid childhood memories involves Good Friday. In the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, Good Friday was always a quiet, reflective day. Everything stopped. Stores were predictably closed--from gas stations to grocery stores. Even the malls closed their doors! Everyone stayed home out of reverence for Christ.

Why is such reverence due a man who lived two thousand years ago? And what is so good about Good Friday?

The Gospel according to John ends with these words, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:25). This is how I feel as I ponder these questions. What I've learned about Christ over the years leaves me thirsty for more and, yet, fully satisfied. It is a precious paradox!

I have a few thoughts today about the One who's changed my life and heart and continues to transform my mind.

Born of a virgin in a lowly place, though a King. (He melts our pride with humility.)
Born into darkness yet called the Light of the world. (He can see right through the thick darkness of sin.)
Despised and rejected yet full of mercy, forgiveness, and grace. (He knows every human emotion and meets every need.)
His goodness and love were repaid on a lonely Cross--willingly chosen. (He knows all about sacrifice.)
Killed like a criminal yet called the Prince of Peace. (His sword is Truth and pierces every lie.)
Even from the Cross, He spoke forgiveness unto His accusers. (He is the definition of Grace.)
Also from the Cross, feeling forsaken, He trusted His Father and gave up His spirit. (His courage and faith can become ours.)
Risen on the third day, He lives on ... and spurs us on to higher living. (His plans for us are great.)
Not leaving us as orphans, He promises the Holy Spirit will fill us (if, having repented, we ask) and guide us into all truth. (His wisdom can become ours.)
Through the Spirit, He lives in us. (He supplies the power needed to live for Him.)
Because He lives, we can have eternal life. (We get to be with the author of life, love, and every good thing forever!)

The prophet Isaiah spoke about Jesus' sacrifice hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth. About this awaited Messiah, the Christ, he said,

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, 
nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain....
Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering....
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,

and by His wounds we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:2-5)

By His wounds, we are healed. This is exceedingly good news! It means there is hope for us. There is hope for sinful man. For you and me. 

If Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, the price has been paid in full. His death and resurrection have set us free. We've been given a second chance. This isn't just a good Friday. This day should be called Breathtaking Friday. Astonishing Friday. Life-changing, mountain-moving, evil-defeating, satan-squashing, death-conquering Friday!

Jesus has the last word. His death and resurrection opened the door to Life. Eternal life! 

As we get ready to celebrate Easter, let us thank the Lord for His sacrifice on the Cross. Let us recommit to give our all to the One who gave everything for us. And let us receive His love and grace with open hands and hearts, that we may love others as He loves us--with mercy, with forgiveness, with grace.

He lives!
Dr Mari

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:22-23)

For more on the joy of Easter, read He is Risen! So What Does that Mean to You and Me?

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