Good Friday is neither good, nor on a Friday. But it is a sobering day to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross – the most excruciating form of death that existed during Roman rule. Whether it happened on a Friday or not does not really matter. What matters is that Jesus did it for us – sinners wholly undeserving of his grace. His death was the greatest act of love this world will ever know.
Yet we forget how much it cost our Lord to endure such humiliation and pain for us. We forget the agony he endured when his back was lacerated and his body was nailed to the cross. We forget the mockery he endured as the self-righteous taunted him to save himself. We forget the spiritual separation Jesus had from the Father and his piercing loneliness. Which is why we need Good Friday to remember.
But the story doesn’t end there. If Good Friday were the last chapter in our book, we would be a hopeless lot revering a dead man, just like any other religion. But we have Easter to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Even death could not hold him back, and he rose again to prove that he had conquered the final enemy – death itself.
For many, death is still an enemy. But it no longer holds power over us Christians. Spending an eternity in heaven praising Jesus isn’t such a bad effect of death. But to be eternally separated from the great, sovereign God is a death to be feared. And many do fear it.
No one likes to admit that they’re reaching the end of their life. And many deny it, acting like it will never happen. But it does happen, and no one can avoid it. Either we can accept it, or run away from it futilely. When the end of our life is filled with fear and uncertainty, then we fear death. But when we leave this world with the confident hope of heaven, death is but an intermediate stage to eternal bliss.
And so we celebrate Good Friday, the death of our Lord, and Easter, the resurrection of Jesus. He was the first to ever defeat death, and we too will do the same in our resurrected bodies.
For some, Easter is just a frivolous holiday consisting of Easter egg hunts, new clothes and dyed eggs. But for Christians, it’s a celebration of our risen Lord who conquered death, proving he was God, and calls us to follow him. Because of him, we can joyfully live on this earth as we eagerly await the next.