Today, Christians all over the world are recognizing what has become known as “Good Friday.”
As is often the case with the struggles we go through in life, the Friday in history that we are commemorating is only good in hindsight. For those early disciples who experienced the events on that day, witnessing the very public, painful, and demeaning execution of Jesus Christ, the word “good” probably wouldn’t be their first choice. The followers of Jesus, filled with such hope and optimism from Jesus’ triumphant entry just a week earlier, had just seen their hopes not just dashed to the ground, but utterly annihilated. Their Savior was betrayed by one of their own, put up for a show trial where He didn’t even try to defend Himself, turned on by the crowd, and crucified among other criminals for the world to see.
The disappointment and pain was so evident that even the disciple Peter, possibly Jesus’ staunchest and vocal supporter, flipped and denied all involvement with Him three times in the space of a single evening with a speed that would make a politician jealous.
In all of this, however, it was still a Good Friday.
We know this because Friday was not the end of the story.
On Sunday Christians all over the world will recognize the next part — the Resurrection. Friday disappointed the plans of the crowd and the disciples that followed Jesus around, but it did not disappoint God’s plan. Good Friday was necessary because it set the stage for a Resurrection on Sunday. This was always the plan. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:6-10)
Jesus had to die so he could pay the penalty for all of our sins, God used the events of that Good Friday to eternally repair the breach between Him and humankind, and now we can experience life in Him. We can also know that whatever darkness, tragedy, injustice, or pain we go through in life, our current chapter is not the end of the story. We can thrive here on earth (John 10:10), and we can know there is going to be a resurrection and we can also be secure in eternity.
Friday was good not because it was easy, comforting, or fun. Friday was good because Sunday made it so.
Rev. Grant Parkki is the Christian Education Associate Pastor at Kenai New Life. Kenai New Life is located at 209 Princess Street in Kenai, with Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with programs for children, youth, and adults at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings. You can find out more about the church and its ministries at kenainewlife.org.