This is the message I preached on Good Friday, 2011, in response to the query as to why we are celebrating the Lord’s Supper on Easter Day instead of Good Friday. It’s more informational than formational, but you may find it interesting; it’s pretty brief. You can listen to it here.
Did you ever wonder why a day commemorating the death of the Saviour of the world is called “Good” Friday?
Like most terms that don’t make much sense to us, it stems from an adaptation from another language. There are two possibilities: one is that it comes from a Germanic term that could mean either ‘holy’ or ‘good’; the day used to be called “Holy Friday” by many Christians. The other possibility is that “Good” is a replacement for “God’s”, since for some, the name of God is too holy to speak.
Either way, it is a good day indeed, because it is on this day that we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us, once for all, as he died on the cross for our sins. If that was the end of the story, of course, there would be precious little ‘good’ about Good Friday. But we have read to the end of the book: we know how the story ends. There is victory. There is resurrection. There is new life.
But for today, we go to dark Gethsemane. We survey the wondrous cross. We watch our Saviour bleed, our Sovereign die. We come, and mourn awhile. We take our stand beneath the cross of Jesus, beholding the sacred head, now wounded.
There is nothing wrong with leaving church today in sadness. Good Friday should make us feel sad – sad for ourselves, especially, since it was our sin that necessitated the cross in the first place. But there is more to come!
Grieve on Friday. Let your grief turn to anticipation on Saturday. And enter the house of worship on Sunday with a spring in your step. By allowing yourself to grieve today, you will better appreciate the joy and victory of Sunday.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53.5-6, NLT).
See you at the empty tomb!