Today is Good Friday.
It is a strange name for the day we remember the gruesome death of Jesus. In that context, today should be called Dark Friday. Scripture tells us that the skies became dark as Jesus hung on the cross (Mark 15:33). When you stop to think about it today should be a somber and sad day. Death should always be a sad affair, and this is especially true when it is God’s Son who dies.
There are two reasons why we are able to call today “good”.
The first reason is that through the death of Jesus we discover the profound love God has for us. We may not fully understand the reasons why Jesus had to die for us or how his death atones for our sins, but we can understand that his death happened because of love. Jesus laid down his life because he loves us.
Donn Leach wrote:
Frequently it is stated that Jesus died for humankind because of His great love for them (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 52, 25; Rev. 1:5). In every passage the gist of it is that Jesus loved people and gave Himself up in death for them. One needs to remember that to the Hebrew mind the “and” often expressed the logical connection of result. He loved people, and the result was that He died for them. (What the Bible Says About Jesus, p. 291)
Jesus’ love and his death go together. His death was the logical result of his love for humankind. On Good Friday, we don’t just remember the death of Jesus, but we celebrate his great love for us. A love that led him to lay down his life so we could be saved.
The second reason is the resurrection. The resurrection breathes life, light, and hope into what otherwise would be a terrible and gruesome day. It is because of the resurrection that we can be confident that Jesus’ death really does save us from our sins. The resurrection tells us that not even our greatest enemy, death, is powerful enough to thwart God’s love and will.
In his book The Power of the Blood of Christ, Andrew Murray wrote:
But, behold! Jesus is risen from the dead; an apparent victory proved to be the terrible downfall of the Prince of Darkness. By bringing about the death of The Lord of life, Satan permitted Him, who alone was able to break open the gates of death, to enter his kingdom. “Through death he…destroy[ed] him that had the power of death! that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). In that holy moment when our Lord shed His blood in death, and it seemed as if Satan were victorious, the Adversary was robbed of the authority he had possessed until then. (pp. 136-37)
We have victory over death and the promise of new life because of the reality that Jesus rose from the dead. His death would have been meaningless (1 Corinthians 15:12-14) without the resurrection. It is the resurrection that makes all the difference.
Today is “good” because the love of Jesus provides the back drop for his gruesome death, and his resurrection proves that his death gives us victory from sin.