Day 6 - Friday

Good Friday. 

I have always thought that this is just the worst name for this day. It seems to me like there was very little good that really happened on that day. In fact, it was actually known by many other names; Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday, and Black Friday. Obviously, landing on the nomenclature of Good Friday has taken a while.

But we do know why it was good. It led to the resurrection and the victory of Jesus over death. But sometimes, we get to Sunday a little too quickly. Perhaps we need to settle into the darkness of the day for a while so that we can truly understand the goodness of the day as well.

One of the ways that we can understand why it is so good is to understand why our sin is so bad. I know that it has fallen out of fashion to talk about our sin as the thing that nailed Jesus to the cross and I get why.  It is uncomfortable to think about, and it leads us to a deep and sometimes anxiety-creating discussion about atonement theories and what really happened that day on that cross. What were the logistics that made Jesus have to go up there, and was he ransom, payment, debt, sacrifice, victim, or something else?

I’m not going to get into all of that today. What I am going to lean into is the idea that in the narrative we are given in scripture, this day was an overwhelming, palpable, and tectonic act of love for us. With this one act, our trajectories, our standing, and our assurance of salvation were sealed forever, and all of our striving and seeking perfection were shown as not only inadequate but unnecessary. We were given a promise of new life, and that new life was modeled by not only the sacrifice but by the trust that Jesus put in God and in us.

What trust did Jesus put in us on this Good Friday?

He trusted that we would be worth the sacrifice; that we would even accept that sacrifice.

And that is a great deal of trust. Jesus was willing to bet that we would “get it” and that his willingness to be sin for us would be acknowledged, accepted, and appreciated. It was a big risk that Jesus was taking. But he took it because he was willing to believe in us.

Yet we struggle to believe in him. There is an irony in that.

His trust, his belief, and his faith had to be much greater than ours ever has had to be. He did it regardless of all the evidence to the contrary that we would understand any of what he did. He went to the cross voluntarily because he had such a great heart for us he would not allow any of us to live without the chance of forever with him. If that is not love, if that is not good, then I don’t know what is.

As we look at this Good Friday, we realize that perhaps the good isn’t just in what happened, but it was good in the way that Jesus was willing to think about us, to trust us, and to risk it all to be with us in eternity.

By Timothy Gillespie

Listen to a reflection on this topic from the One project gathering in Seattle, 2016

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