By Bob Stevenson
Tomorrow, we celebrate good Friday. In our church, we gather to read the passion narrative and reflect on the event of the cross. Like any holiday, this one possesses potential to become repetitious and mundane if handled carelessly. But when we embrace it, this very repetition breaks through the noise to anchor us. So why does good Friday matter?
1. Good Friday Matters Because It Breaks into Our Routine
Life is full of routine. We wake, eat breakfast, go to work, eat supper, go to bed. Life moves along the pulse and flow of regularly scheduled events. It is how we operate.
But we can lose ourselves in the rhythm of life. In the wash-rinse-repeat cycle of the ordinary, we can forget that the extraordinary has happened. Good Friday is the broadcast interrupt breaking in to our normal, reminding us that God is there and has done great things.
2. Good Friday Matters Because the World Is Not What It Is Supposed to Be
We are a nation of optimists. We are always straining forward, innovating, seeking to move up whatever ladder means most to us. We idolize the achievement gurus, adore the comeback stories and carefully cultivate Instagram personas that show the world we have it together.
Even so, we know not all is well in the world. In honest moments, we acknowledge that the cracks in the wall reveal something darker behind the façade. Good Friday forces us to face this reality head-on.
There is one reason Jesus had to die: our sin. The cross of Jesus Christ is meaningless apart from this. And in celebrating Good Friday, we are forced to stare our sin in its hideous face.
Of course, this gives us great humility. But it also provides us with a powerful outlet for our angst and frustration with this world. The world isn’t as it should be. And Jesus of Nazareth entered into that brokenness that He might put all things to right. He knows our pain — He bore the very thing that causes it.
3. Good Friday Matters Because It Reveals God’s Love for Us
Just as we cannot separate our sin from the cause of the cross, neither can we separate God’s love from its motive. Remove love and there is only cold obedience to a demanding God, or hapless martyrdom. But the cross of Jesus Christ — the essence of Good Friday — is the product of divine love. Trinitarian in shape, the cross happens because our God is love. The cross is what happens when this God creates people, and His people rebel against him.
4. Good Friday Matters Because It Tells Us We Are Forgiven
Good Friday reveals just how terrible our sin is. Consider the horror of the death of the God’s Son. Look beyond Jesus’ rejection by His people; beyond the injustice of the false accusations and sham trial; beyond the torturous agony of crucifixion. See the gut-wrenching reality that the God of life would be nailed to a cross, to die the hellish death we deserved.
This disturbing reversal confounds us. And yet it is precisely here that we find hope. For its terribleness is a proclamation. A proclamation that such a penalty is necessary if we would ever be forgiven. That our sin is no light matter, but requires a cosmic work to rectify its damage. A proclamation that this work is finished.
To celebrate Good Friday is to hear this beautiful word again. To know that we, the chief of sinners, have been forgiven by the costly grace of God.
Bob Stevenson is pastor of Village Baptist Church, Aurora, Ill. This article was originally published on his blog and is reposted here by permission.