Friday, April 10, 2009

What is so good about Good Friday?

This is the day that Christians use to specifically remember and think about Jesus being crucified on the cross. That doesn't sound very good, does it?

It doesn't sound good to my modern ear to hear about a grown man being literally nailed through his wrists to a dirty piece of scratchy wood so that others might mock him.

It doesn't feel good to think about the pain that humans inflicted upon another human. To read about, or worse, watch in the film The Passion of The Christ, the very brutal way he was treated by the guards, makes me want to crawl under the covers and pretend I had nothing to do with it. (But I did. We all did.)

But I do know, there is a reason all of this is "good." It doesn't make sense to my modern mind to think about a man being killed as good, but in this instance, his death is good. It is Jesus' death that allows us to have a relationship with God the Father. And without that relationship, we are all doomed to hell - which we all know can not be good.
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." 
John 10.11-18 (emphasis added)


  1. The Chinese name for "Good Friday" holds so much more meaning than the English...

    受难节 - Shou nan jie

    it is the mash up of characters for "taking on an obligation" "difficult" and "holiday"

    I love how sometimes things are so much more clear in Chinese - especially on a topic like this one! (Easter is also much more clear - in Chinese, the name literally means "resurrection holiday"!)

  2. More literally, in my mind, it is the Receiving Hardship Day or Receiving Suffering Day.

    My mother attaches the word Jesus in front of it, so it gets the full effect: "Jesus Receives Suffering Day/Fest".

    Resurrection is "Again-Alive Day" or, properly, "Resurrection Day".

  3. Steve - I can see how Chinese makes it so much easier to understand the true meaning of the holiday. Isn't Easter the name Christians co-opted from pagan festivals anyway? I try to remember to call it Resurrection Sunday when I am discussing the holiday, since I think that is where the focus should be.

    Jeff - That is a beautiful way to describe the holiday, though a bit wordy for me to say to the cashier as I am ending my transaction. :) Where do you live?


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