So, Christians celebrate many different aspects of Holy Week with the culmination being, of course, Easter Sunday. But why Good Friday? And why is it good with so much pain suffered by our Lord?
In the beginning God created. Those five words have more power in them than many of us realize. From nothing, came space and time. From nothing, came the Earth. Six times in the English translation of the Genesis 1, Moses wrote that God saw each part of creation as “good”.
In the beginning…
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day. Genesis 1:3-5
Then God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” And it was so. The earth produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12
Then God said, “Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:20-21
Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:9-10
God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:16-18
Then God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24-25
But wait, my Sunday School teacher always told me that God said good seven times.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day. Genesis 1:26-31
Notice how Moses records the last day of creation? God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. It was only after God made mankind did He say very good. Adam and Eve were created perfectly and with freewill. However, the sin in the garden, chosen by their own freewill, separated mankind from God. God is Holy and by His very nature cannot be near anything unholy. But God loved us and wanted His creation to have a relationship with Him.
God had a plan already for restoration and that plane He set forth in the garden.
Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:14-15
Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
The Old Testament is filled with many references to blood sacrifice. For example, in Leviticus 17:11, God told Moses that atonement for our lives comes through the lifeblood. And in Hebrews 9:22, the author writes “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
So why did Jesus have to die? We needed a savior! And the only Person who could cleanse us of our sins is the very Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus.
So Why is Good Friday So Good?
In Romans 6:23 we read that the wages of sin is death. There has to be a penalty paid (wages) for sin, and that payment is death, or in other words, eternal separation from God. Romans 6:23 continues with, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So why is Good Friday so good? Simply put, because the death of Jesus on the cross led to the Resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death (eternal separation from God) and sin (propitiation). Father God turned His back on His Son while He was dying on the Cross. Let that sink in for a minute or two.
Many people in who had followed Jesus during His time on earth missed the point. They mourned His passing without the understanding that His tomb would be empty. This is why we celebrate. We celebrate His death because we know the tomb will be empty come Easter Morning.
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