What's good about Good Friday?

Today we are going to talk continue the series about the church calendar. We have already covered Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and Lent. The next event on the church calendar is Easter. Since today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter, this is working out nicely!

Easter is the main event for Christians. Christ’s death and resurrection are the events that have secured our salvation. Easter is a celebration of the defeat of death and the redemption of humanity. But before the celebration comes the trial. 

Last Sunday, we celebrated Palm Sunday. This is a remembrance of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and being hailed as a coming king. Palm Sunday is the beginning of what is known as Holy Week. Holy Week is when Christians have historically remembered the events of Christ’s last week before his death. These events include the clearing of the temple and Jesus’ final sermons. These are events that are traditionally believed to have happened on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week. Holy or Maundy Thursday is the day that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples. During this event, Jesus initiates the sacrament of communion. He uses the backdrop of a Passover meal to highlight his coming death and a new Passover event in which all of humanity can be delivered from the angel of death, not only Israel. This is also when Jesus highlights the importance of servanthood in his Kingdom by washing his disciple's feet. At the end of the meal, Jesus leaves with his disciples and walks to the Gethsemane, and the events of Good Friday begin to unfold.

Good Friday is the day Jesus is crucified, and the events begin to unfold in Gethsemane. Judas has already left to execute his betrayal of Jesus. The remaining disciples join Jesus in the garden as he spends the night praying that God might find another way to redeem humanity while simultaneously submitting himself to the Father’s will. Judas returns, Jesus is arrested, his disciples abandon him, and his sham trial before the Sanhedrin and Pilate begins. Ultimately, this culminates in Christ’s crucifixion, death, and burial. Good Friday is a day we remember the cost of our sins. It is a day that forces us to reflect on the fact that our sin caused Christ’s death, and in that moment, we all abandoned him, just like his disciples.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end with Good Friday. Christ remains in the tomb through Saturday. Then on Sunday morning, something unimaginable occurs. Several of Jesus’ female disciples walk to his tomb to prepare his body for burial. They were planning to wrap him with various spices and mourn for him. But when they arrive, the tomb is empty, and an angel tells them that Christ has risen! Words cannot fully express the overwhelming joy that comes with the fact that Christ is risen. He has defeated death. He has conquered sin. He has provided a permanent pathway to reconciliation with the Father. He has created the ability for us to be adopted in the family of God and join him as co-heirs of the Kingdom of God!!

This is what we celebrate on Easter. We celebrate our adoption into God’s family, the forgiveness of our sins, and our restored relationship with the Father. The seasons of the church calendar that come before Easter are all pointing toward it. Holy Week is a focused time of reflection on the cost of our sins and the weight of what happens on Good Friday. But when Sunday comes, it is full-on feasting and celebration. The fasting of Lent has ended with the joy of a resurrected savior!

In closing, a Christian artist named Andrew Peterson has written and released a series of albums focused on the joys of Easter. His song "Lord Remember Me", has a section that discussed Holy Week. I would highly encourage you to check it out below and to take the next step of engaging with the rest of the album.

Josh Cervone