Contemplating “Good” Friday

It’s always struck me as strange that Christians refer to the day of Christ’s crucifixion as “good.” I get the goodness of Easter (even if I don’t get the weird rabbit-and-eggs way we celebrate it). It’s easy to see how Jesus’ triumph over sin and death are “good” things. It’s easy to understand why victory deserves celebration. But defeat . . . death . . . destruction? Why would we want to call all that “good”?

Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:10 lead us toward an answer.

Romans 5:8
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice of atonement] for our sins.
The point in both verses (and of countless others all through the Old and New Testaments) is that the cross of Christ represents the pinnacle of God’s lavish and costly love for death-deserving sinners like you and me. The goodness of the crucifixion lies not in the victimization of Jesus (whether by God or the worldly powers-that-be) but rather in that, as Peter says in Acts 4:27-28, “truly in this city [Jerusalem] there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

In other words, the cross was not an accident. The cross wasn’t Plan B. The cross wasn’t a defeat. The cross (though shrouded in a sort of tragic almost heart-breaking irony) was God’s ultimate triumph over the evil “powers and authorities” (Col. 2:15) of this present world. The cross is God’s testimony that you are “more wicked than you ever dared believe and yet more loved, in Jesus Christ, than you ever dared hope.”

Join with us this Friday at 7pm and 9pm to celebrate the profound goodness of the cross and, until then, take some time to listen through this powerful sermon from Mark Driscoll on the nature and meaning of “Christ on the Cross.”


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