It’s Good Friday.
But it’s the day Jesus died. What makes this “good”?
Well, from a word-origins standpoint, some have suggested over the years that it’s another way of saying, “God’s Friday”, but there’s not much to back that up. Instead, it is more likely that “good” is another way of saying “holy”. It’s “Holy Friday”. In some other languages, the day Jesus was crucified is translated as “Holy Friday”.
That makes sense. So why not just call it “Holy Friday”? We know what that means.
Solid point! I suppose we could do that, but there are many other days that are designated “holy”, and Good Friday is, well, different. It’s definitely holy, but it stands apart from all other holy days, because it is the day Jesus went to the cross for our sins. So in English usage, we’ve called it “Good Friday” for a long, long time, because it is a day unlike any other day in the Christian calendar. And it is, after all, good!
Well, it sure didn’t seem very good for Jesus.
Fair enough. But he knew from eternity that this day would come. In his humanity, in Gethsemane, he prayed that it might not happen – that the Father might find some other way – but he still submitted to the Father’s will. He knew the purpose behind his awful death. And he knew what the outcome would be, on the third day.
He did it for you, and for me. For us, it is definitely good: it is the day on which our sin received atonement. Without Good Friday, we would not be able to be in relationship with God. So that’s good.
But didn’t Jesus himself say that there is none who is good but God (Luke 18.19)?
Indeed, he did. But because Jesus was God, he was also good, in the very best sense of the term – he was holy.
So Jesus the Good died for us on Friday, so it’s Good Friday…
That’s a good way of looking at it!
Remember the sadness of the day, because God in the flesh died because of our sin. And rejoice in the goodness of the day, because God in the flesh died for our sin…and because we know what comes next!
“‘The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,’ he said. ‘He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead’” (Luke 19.22, NLT).