What’s Good about Friday?
March 25, 2016 1 Comment
In our workaday lives the answer is usually obvious – unless you are one of the increasing number of people who have to work Saturday and or Sunday – it’s Friday and it’s time for that drink and to kick off the week-end. Indeed, by the time you read this, I’ll be enjoying some holiday time myself. But this Friday is different. This Friday the world changed for ever. Whether or not you believe in Christianity, the events of this and the next few days wrought a change which, within three hundred years had conquered the Roman Empire, and which would create a force which continues to have huge influence in our world today. Who could have thought that on that black day on the hill of the skull – on Golgotha as the sky darkened and the lightning came and the veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom?
Surely not those who had lived with the man just tortured to death on the Cross. Most of his male disciples, thinking themselves next in line, were in hiding. His mother was there with her sisters and with the youngest male disciple – and we can hardly imagine her grief. Fortunately a kind member of the Sanhedrin from Arimathea, Joseph, offered a tomb for the dead man, and the women bore him there and did for him what was prescribed by way of anointing; they had no time to finish the job because the Sabbath was dawning. They left the body, wrapped in grave-clothes, in that tomb. The stone was rolled across – it was done, it was over. Not one among them would have felt other than aggrieved to be told it was ‘Good Friday’ – what was good about it? An innocent man upon whom they had built such hopes had been unjustly sentenced and crucified. ‘Good’ – really?
What a day it had been. Any chance of saving Jesus had been lost when the crowds, offered the chance, chose Bar-Abbas – ironically Jewish for son of the father; Christ or a crook, and the world chose as it always would. But whilst it slept, the great miracle of our redemption was being wrought: whilst Pilate’s wife pondered what her dream had meant; whilst Herod congratulated himself on reconciling with the Romans; whilst Caiaphas acknowledged the rightness that one man should die so that the people should live; whilst the disciples cowered in the upper room; and whilst Mary his mother mourned with her female relatives, God’s plan was unfolding.
As we leave church today, in silence, we can reflect that the wisdom of this world was set at naught, not by the schemes of men and women, but by the love of God. It was love which brought Our Saviour into the world, it was love which prompted him to that supreme sacrifice – which is why all these years on, we say it is ‘Good Friday’ – the day we were bought and paid for and lifted from sin – if we will but receive his love – and respond to it.