Good. What does the word mean? The word good in Aristotle referred to that which is desirable for its own sake. Ultimately, the true good for himw as happiness. We Christians locate that goodness in God. We have things that we consider good by their nature, but that is because they possess being and insofar as they are, they are good. For actions and events, we have a different criteria. For some reason, we call this day “Good Friday.”
Have you ever wondered about it?
Do we see Mormons celebrating the day that Joseph Smith was killed? Do we see Jews celebrating the day that Moses died? Do we see Muslims celebrating the day that Muhammad died? Do we see Buddhists celebrating the day that the Buddha died?
Yet we choose the day that our Lord died, and of course I know that he rose again, and we call that good. There is a lot in that statement. Tonight, let’s look at that.
I wish to remind everyone about Slipstream ministries, which can be found in the links section at the right, whose request on their podcast is responsible for my writing this series this Easter weekend instead of the usual Trinitarian study. It seems Deeper Waters has had more hits than usual and if you came from Slipstream or another blog that is doing this event, welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy what you read and I hope that you will stick around afterwards. Unless noted in advance, Deeper Waters will bring you a new blog every evening.
Good. Let us make it clear. I do not believe we are saying the death of the innocent Son of God in itself was good. It was a sinful act done by wicked men and as such it was not good. Does that mean it was not used for good? Of course it was! That’s the glory of God. He takes what is even meant to be used against him and uses it for his own glory.
What is good is that the ultimate act of evil really brought about the ultimate good. We have been blogging lately on the Trinity and I would like those of us who have been thinking Trinitarian to consider the way that we look at the cross in light of the claims of Christ. Either Jesus was claiming to be God and was not and considering the level at which he made the claims, it was then the most righteous act that could be done putting to death the most wicked blasphemer of all, or he was who he said he was, and then it was the most wicked act that could ever be done putting to death the only righteous one who ever lived.
No one leaves the cross neutral.
Why is this called Good Friday? It is because of the good that came out of it. It was the greatest good. God’s plan worked. He did it at the greatest cost possible. He did not use a created being, a mere tool to bring about man’s redemption, but rather he gave his only Son.
In the Brothers Karamazov, the skeptic Ivan asks his brother, the religious one, Alexei, a question. If he could build a perfect world but know that in order to do that, he would have to make one innocent person suffer the worst pain possible, would he do such?
Apparently, God would and did, and he made it so it wasn’t one of us, but the Son took it on instead.
Look at the cross. It should have been you. It should have been me. This is one reason I’m hesitant to condemn my brother for his sins. I will condemn the sins, but even so, I will not do so with glee. My brother needs my encouragement to not walk that way again. I deserve the cross just as he does.
Good Friday reminds us that God is in control. The crucifixion was not an accident. God knew it from all eternity. How does this work? I will not even claim to know. Eternity is such a mind-boggling concept, but I believe that that is true based on my philosophical ponderings and my exegesis of Scripture.
If God is in control, that also means redemption is not an accident. We are not a mere afterthought. We have always been there. I consider it a very orthodox statement that if God ceased to think about you, he would cease to exist as God. God knows all things at all times. That includes you. If he lost thought of you, then he would be temporal. Maybe an OVT can accept that. I cannot.
The main area that needs to be covered is how the followers of Christ handled this event when it happened. How would they have seen it? That will be our topic tomorrow.