Jesus Was Crucified. Why Call It “Good Friday”?

Is it morbid to refer to the day that Jesus was crucified as Good Friday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Good. What do we have in mind? If you asked for a good pizza, one with mouse droppings on it would quite likely not be what you have in mind. If you ask for a good movie, the one with the worst rating at Rotten Tomatoes would not be what you have in mind. If you asked for a good spouse, one who will abuse you and watch internet porn is not what you have in mind. If you ask for a good babysitter, you don’t want one who is a convicted and unrepentant pedophile. Yet here we talk about Good Friday and what do we say happened on it? Good Friday is the day that the righteous Son of God was crucified.

What was that?

You don’t even have to be a Christian at this point to see the problem. Even most non-Christians would hold Jesus up as a good figure worthy of emulation. Few would say that Jesus was the kind of man who deserved crucifixion. Yet that is exactly what happened. So why do we call this day “Good Friday”?

We do not call it good because something good happened. My stance with Jesus is that based on what we have from Him in the Gospels, either the crucifixion was the most righteous act of all that put to death the most wicked man who ever lived, or it was the most wicked act of all that put to death the most righteous man who ever lived. When we say that this was a wicked act, we say it because we believe Jesus was a righteous man. It is important to note that we are not saying the crucifixion was good or was a good action. Yet if it was not a good action, how can we speak then of Good Friday?

Simple reflection on your own past should show this. How many of us have gone through times that seemed absolutely horrible at the time and we would not want to repeat them ever again, but in the end we look back on those times and say “Yes. That was a terrible time, but I am ultimately glad I went through it because that time enabled XYZ to happen.” Perhaps it led to a new development in your life like a career path or a spouse, or perhaps it led to you developing a certain kind of character that helped you. You would never say that what happened was good, but you would affirm that it was used for good.

In fact, this is what we get in Romans 8. All things work together for good to them that love the Lord. Paul never once says that all things are good. He’s spent much of Romans telling us that much is not good. He instead says all things work for good. Of course, he does not suggest a reckless attitude. He does not think that you should do evil so that good may result, something he explicitly states in Romans 3. He is just saying that whatever happens, if you love the Lord, it will work out for your good. If all Christians everywhere could grasp this message and truly believe it, we would all live radically different lives.

What changes everything is the resurrection. Were it not for the resurrection, as Frank Turek has said, Good Friday would just be called Friday. In fact, no one would really care about that day. We would never have heard anything about Jesus. He would not be talked about at all today and would have died as a no-name in history not worth mentioning. The only reason we talk about Him today is not because of what happened on Friday, but it is because of what happened on Sunday and we really need to grasp what that was. Jesus rose from the dead indeed, but so what? What does that mean?

It means God has vindicated the claims of Jesus. Had He stayed dead, it would have been God saying “Yes. Those claims He made are false.” By raising Him from the dead, God gives the stamp of approval on Jesus’s life. Now there is a new king of this world. There was a challenge to Caesar then and a challenge to all Caesars today. The message we have to give to the world is that Jesus is King and you’d best get in line. We most often want to say it would be “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Can anyone imagine a herald going around the Roman Empire saying “Caesar is Lord and he has a wonderful plan for your life.” The claim is not about what Caesar will do for you. The claim is about what you will do for the Caesar, or in this case, what you will do for Christ.

Now does Christ do a lot for you? Yes. He does. He forgives you of your sins, He grants you a place in the Kingdom, and He promises to raise you up on the last day. That’s good, but if you stop there, then it’s like getting married and then saying “Now what is my spouse going to do for me?” You should be asking the most what you are going to be doing for your spouse. Jesus is not there to serve you. You are there to serve Jesus.

Good Friday is only good because we know it was used for good and we know that because of the resurrection. No one wants to say what happened was good, but God took the greatest evil done and used it for the greatest good. This should remind us all today that God can take the evil and suffering in our own lives and use that for a greater good.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Was Good Friday Good?

Why do we call the day of crucifixion Good Friday? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Today, we Christians celebrate what we call Good Friday. Looking over at my calendar (Might I add, my Smallville 2013 calendar) I see that it is indeed called Good Friday on there. Yet we acknowledge today in history as the day in which Jesus Christ, the most holy of all, was crucified.

Let us consider first off what happens this day. YHWH is essentially put on trial. Jesus, the one who is God in human flesh, stands before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin wishes to use the Law that YHWH gave them not realizing who the one standing before them is. Will YHWH meet their standards of the Law of YHWH? Could it be possible this is what Dostoyevsky had in mind with his Grand Inquisitor who had Jesus brought forward for charges of heresy?

Jesus is sentenced for blasphemy. Yet beyond blasphemy, He is said to be claiming to be a king, and indeed this is right. In fact, if Jesus’s being YHWH was not right, the blasphemy charge would have also been right. The Jews were not mistaken on what Jesus said. They were mistaken in their not believing it.

So in doing so, the people have rejected Jesus as their king and have sentenced Him to be crucified. Of course, this was all part of God’s great plan for the world. To go back to Dostoyevsky, Ivan in the book asks his brother if he would be willing to create a world if he had to build it on the suffering of one innocent person. Apparently, God’s answer is “Yes.” That one suffering person is the Son.

Keep in mind what it means about Jesus in the crucifixion. With Jesus making the claims that He was making, the crucifixion was one of two things. It was either the most wicked act of all that put to death the most righteous man who ever lived, or it was the most righteous act of all that put to death the most wicked man who ever lived. Jesus, once again, reminds us that there is no neutrality with Him.

So why do we call it good?

Is it that Jesus was crucified and the action then is good? No. The Jews and Romans did a wicked thing. It is called good because this evil act became the means of salvation for the world. This is something found throughout the Bible. Joseph’s brothers intended something for evil and God meant it for good. Romans 8 is the key text on this. God is in charge of this world and if He allows something to happen, even the crucifixion of His own Son, then we can be assured that He will use it for good.

This gets us to the importance also of personal application. Whatever is going on in the world today and in our own personal worlds, we can know that if the crucifixion of the Son of God can be used in such a way that we call it “Good Friday” today, why do we doubt about everything else? Do we honestly think the God who can use the crucifixion of the Son for good cannot use what is going on for our own good as well? In fact, if we realize this point, we will be unstoppable.

Years ago, I got a Game Genie, which essentially allowed for cheating on games. You play a game very differently when you can’t die ultimately. Now at times you could play flippantly to be sure, but you could also play with great confidence. You knew in the end you were going to win.

We can also play the game with great confidence. In the end, we will win.

Never lose sight of that. Good Friday was just one day, but the promise of it is eternal.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Good Friday

What does this day really mean? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

My wife and I lately have been watching biblical movies on the Gospel Music Channel. I don’t really care for Gospel Music any more, and frankly I don’t care for much Contemporary Christian Music either, but by and large I find the movies can give an interesting look, though I regularly do state that a lot of liberties are being taken with the text.

The great danger that can happen with the movies is often we will see something like Moses parting the Red Sea and think “Wow! Isn’t that fascinating!” and go on our way. We can think it an act of special effects much like the X-Men or Iron Man performing an action. The film crew makes it look so real that we do in fact often lose sight of the fact that it is real.

If we watch a movie like “The Passion of the Christ” we can often forget that what we are watching is in fact history. This really happened. When we see something on TV, it often does not impress on us the way that it really should. For an example of this, which do you think would be more striking in your mind. Seeing 9-11 happen on television or if you had been in New York City and saw it happen yourself?

Our images we have of the crucifixion cannot do it justice. I recall being in a chat room on AOL when the Passion was about to come out and some one came in who was saying they were upset because they made the crucifixion so graphic. (Apparently, they saw a preview of the film) I replied that in reality, they could not show the crucifixion the way it really was. This person was astounded and in disbelief.

We often see Jesus on the cross and the skin is still well intact on His body. It would not have been so in reality. Chances are you would have very easily seen the internal organs of our Lord. It would have been a sight that would have made the bloodiest horror film of our day receive only a G rating in comparison. This was an action so vile most in society would dare not even mention its name. It was the most shameful act that could be done to someone who opposed the Roman Empire.

And yet, we call today “Good Friday?” One can think of the small child immediately who would ask “Why would you say the day Jesus died is good?”

The child is entirely right to ask the question. The sad reality is that the adult usually doesn’t bother. In our society, we have our holidays mixed up. People start shopping months in advance for Christmas. We have Christmas music and Christmas stores and Christmas vacations and people going back and forth from state to state to celebrate Christmas.

On Easter, we have very little. There is little exchange of gifts and Easter vacations are not common.

Biblically however, Easter is the most important of the holidays. Of course, you could not have Easter without Christmas, but if all we had was the birth of Jesus and no resurrection, we would not even be celebrating the birth of Jesus at all. It would have been a failure. Chances are, no one today would know who Jesus was if He had not risen from the dead.

We must look at who Jesus was in His time. I will not argue for this now as other blogs of mine have done such, but Jesus was the divine incarnation of God Himself living amongst us and bringing about the Kingdom. He was the Messiah sent to redeem the world from what had happened to it and restore it to the Father.

Now when we see Jesus in this way, we can only see the crucifixion in one of two ways which makes Jesus so extraordinary. The first way is that Jesus was a wicked blasphemer and as C.S. Lewis would say, the very devil out of hell. If that was the case, then the crucifixion was the most righteous act of all that put to death the most wicked man who ever lived.

Suppose instead we orthodox Christians are right. Jesus was the second person of the Trinity visiting His people. The people He came to did not receive Him and instead crucified Him. If that is the case, then the crucifixion was the most wicked act of all that put to death the most righteous man who ever lived.

Of course, Christians hold to the latter. Why do we call this Good Friday then? Because we know this is when Christ began dealing the death blow to the powers that be. Paul says this in Colossians 2. The powers did not shame Jesus on the cross and make a spectacle of Him. Instead, He shamed them on the cross and made a spectacle of them.

This good Friday period ends with the resurrection, but right now, we are at the turning point in the story that has been being built for us from the Old Testament. History is going somewhere and right now, it is going upwards because Christ has risen and He is taking creation with Him to reach that fullness. Good Friday is the start and throughout this weekend, we will see how it ends.