Without a doubt, the events of that first Good Friday and Easter are the high point in God’s plan of redemption. This is one of the reasons we often feel a sense of anticipation on Easter Sunday. However, when it comes to Good Friday, some Christians are not sure how to think about the day. We know there is much to be grateful for, but the actual events are not easy to think about.
On Good Friday we rightly remember the sufferings of Jesus—the mocking, the flogging, and the crucifixion. And we shouldn’t forget that the most agonizing part for Christ was enduring the wrath of God on our behalf. These realities defy a light-hearted reaction. But this doesn’t mean that Good Friday is not good.
How to Approach Good Friday
While it’s healthy for us to be reminded of the seriousness of our sin, and to be arrested by its dreadful consequences, we shouldn’t treat Good Friday as if we don’t know what comes next. The empty tomb hangs over the entire day, reminding us that Christ’s suffering wasn’t pointless, that his enemies did not get the best of him, that the Father did not abandon him, that our sin debt is not still outstanding, and that Jesus is no longer suffering for our rebellion. In other words, we should think about the cross with the resurrection in mind.
When God raised Jesus from the dead, he was telling us something about Good Friday. He was telling us that this sinless sacrifice had been accepted; that sin’s tyranny had been dealt a death-blow; that the price of our redemption had been paid; that the inconceivable humility of the Son of God had achieved its life-giving purpose. God was helping us to see what really happened on this seeming day of despair.
When we think about the cross on Good Friday, it’s only fitting that we are sobered by Christ’s sacrifice and by our sin. This should be true throughout the year. But we do not approach this day as those who have no hope. This is a day for profound joy, for even before it arrives, we know that Sunday is coming. Or rather, that it has come.