Today is "Good Friday," a day that is really only good because of the end result of what happened. It certainly wasn't good that a perfect man was killed. It wasn't good that it was because of my sins. And it wasn't good that His death was agonizing.
Some say "Good" really stands for "Holy". Some say it was good because it lead to Sunday and the Resurrection. Actually, it seems English is the only language where today is called "Good Friday." Other languages refer to today as "Holy Friday," "Great Friday," "Long Friday" or "Sad Friday."
Whatever you call today, it is a day to acknowledge for several reasons. First, as much as I would like to just skip over the unpleasant details of what Christ suffered ... as much as I would like to jump to Sunday and start celebrating ... Jesus asks me to suffer with Him awhile.
On the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and wait for Him while He prayed. During the time when our Lord was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” His closest friends couldn’t keep awake. Three times Jesus returned to find them sleeping.
In Philippians, Paul said, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Phil 3:10)
To truly appreciate Sunday we have to experience Friday. So take some time today to consider the suffering Christ went through.
I've wondered a lot why Christ's death had to be so painful. I know He was fulfilling prophesies, but why didn't He just go through the motions and have His Heavenly Father remove the pain?
This morning as I was consider my devotion from Wednesday and all the comments about experiencing "death" here on earth, this thought struck me upside the head:
Jesus didn't have to experience the depth of suffering He did ... but He chose to. He willingly walked through the ugliness of humanity, the worst type of betrayal, the indignity of being falsely accused and the excruciating pain of the crucifixion, and so much more. He chose to experience every one of those things on purpose.
He chose to so that when you think your heart is about to be ripped from your body in grief - you'd know He understands.
And when sadness has overwhelmed you to the point of tears and exhaustion - you'd know He understands.
And when you despair over the choices of someone you love ... you'd know He understands.
And when you feel betrayal of the deepest, most intimate kind ... you'd know He understands.
And when your body is betraying you with sickness, disease or injury ... you'd know He understand.
We have a Savior who willingly experienced horrific grief and suffering so that we could never say "Jesus wouldn't understand." This "Good Friday" I'm choosing to remember. I'm choosing to not skip over the agony my Jesus suffered. And in doing so, I can already feel the gratitude welling up in me.
And that is a good thing.
Thank you to everyone who posted a comment on Wednesday or Thursday. I've prayed for each of you. Sadly I only have one gift pack to give away. I wish I had 44. I'm happy to announce that Grace has won the gift pack. I'll send you an email. But if it doesn't come through, please email me at email@example.com.