Good Friday is the day that we remember the crucifixion of Jesus.
It is odd that we would set aside a day to remember the death of a man. This is especially true when we remember that the focus of Christianity is on life rather than death.
Good Friday reminds us that God’s perspective is different from our perspective. From God’s perspective today is not a day focused on the unjust execution of a man, but a day to remember a great act of love.
For us who have been Christians for many years it becomes easy to forget the price that was paid for our sins. We need days like Good Friday to remind us that our salvation came at the price of God’s sacrificial love.
We also need to be reminded that from the outside looking in, the cross doesn’t look like victory.
In fact, from the outside the cross looks like defeat.
Consider the Apostle Paul’s words:
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-25; NLT)
Notice how Paul describes the cross.
From the outside the cross appears foolish. After all, the cross is a symbol of death and defeat.
In the ancient world you could not preach a message of victory through the cross because the cross meant the Romans had won and the rebellion was crushed. For Jews and Gentiles alike the cross was to be avoided.
It is crucial that we understand this reality.
There should be an element of foolishness and folly when we think about the cross.
The cross shouldn’t automatically make sense to us.
Don’t get me wrong. The cross fits into God’s plan to rescue creation from sin, decay, and death. Therefore, even though the cross escapes human reason, it is the product of God’s wisdom.
I want us to step back from talking about the victory of the cross, as if it is the most natural thing in the world, and consider how it looks from the outside.
The victory of the cross cannot be discovered by logic alone. It can only be seen in the entire context of God’s redemptive plan for the world.
We may never grasp the full wisdom of God displayed through the cross.
We may not understand why sin requires death.
We may wonder how the death of one man is able save everyone from the consequences of sin.
We may have questions about the cross, but we can still experience its power.
To take advantage of the gift of forgiveness and mercy that is found in the death Jesus we don’t need to understand all of its complexities. We only need to trust the One at work through it all.
The death of Jesus redeemed an instrument of torture and death into a symbol of victory and hope. If Jesus can redeem the cross, he can redeem us.
The point of Good Friday is not that we understand all of God’s ways, but that we trust God’s love.