So this Friday, it’s Good Friday.
And every time I hear the phrase I can’t help but wonder why we call it “good.”
Because if life = good and death = bad, then haven’t we made a mistake somewhere?
The night before “Good” Friday the King fell to his knees in a garden. Maybe the hours grew long, the silence grew big, and the ground grew cold. And while his disciples slept, the King, he prayed. He asked his Father for escape. He asked for more, or less, or something other than what he’d been given. The burden, you see? It wasn’t his.
“Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.” Mark 14:36
That cup, it wasn’t his to drink. That cup was mine. That cup was yours.
That night, in the garden, our cup sat heavy in his hand. And from the Father, there was no escape. For with escape, there’d be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice, our cup stands full.
“Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
And so we see the strands of sacrifice start to weave their tale.
Here’s the thing about “Good” Friday.
It’s a new day. The garden, it’s behind us. The night, the cold, has finally fled.
The King though, he still holds our cup, and in the silence of his Father, now he stands condemned.
On the surface, in those hours? That Friday, it still doesn’t seem that good at all.
You know the story. Christian or not. You know what comes next and maybe you believe and maybe you don’t but in the end it doesn’t make the sacrifice any less real. Any less shattering. Any less necessary.
That King put a tree upon his back and carried it up a hill. That King balanced our cup on top of that tree and carried that with him too.
The sins of the entirety of humanity sat in that cup and still he carried that tree up the hill.
Three nails. One crown.
A death so brutal, so violent, that none of us would ever want to look upon it. The lashes were plentiful, the thorns went deep, and the blood flowed freely. And in the midst of all the inhumanity, there hung the greatest horror of an innocent King sent to his death.
Forsaken by His Father so I don’t have to be.
So there it is.
Good Friday is the death of a King.
And you may still ask, where then, is the good?
But there they are. Up there on that tree. Those strands of sacrifice, of grace, of hope, wound around and around that cross. Strands so thick, so deep, so wide, that there wasn’t any room for sin. For mine. For yours.
Up on that cross, in that death, we see the unfathomable convergence of grace and sacrifice, sin and forgiveness. Up on that cross, we see the true heart of the King.
In the middle of all that wrath, that heart bleeds mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness.
There’s this song on the radio.
Every time I hear it, it brings me to my knees.
This song? It’s Lauren Daigle’s How Can It Be?
I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be
Take one moment, stop reading, and listen to it. It’s the Good Friday message, wrapped up in a few simple lyrics.
These hands are dirty.
There is sin.
You plead my cause.
There is forgiveness.
You gave Your life.
There is sacrifice.
You say that I am free.
There is grace.
I’ve spent my time in the garden. You probably have to. I’ve felt the cold, hard, unforgiving press on the Earth on my knees. I’ve prayed the pleading prayers, cried the lonely tears.
But silence from the Father? That is a night I have not lived. That is a cup I do not hold.
Yes, the story of Good Friday is dark, and ugly, and cold.
But there is no Resurrection Sunday without Good Friday.
There is no mercy without wrath.
There is no saving without sacrifice.
There is no life without death.