I have often marvelled at the term Good Friday.
It seems too often as if this is a misnomer. How can this awful day in history be labelled Good. The sky is often overcast, the weather a mixed bag on this day of Holy Week. So often, I recall trudging through snow or rain as the heavens seemed to add their sorrow to the remembrance of this day.
And this year, with a loved one passing just yesterday, this Good Friday has taken on a somber awareness of additional grief.
But this Good Friday really does deserve its name. It truly is Good. Jesus, the Son, knowing the cross and agony that was before Him, chose obedience. The physical suffering was excruciating. The Roman penalty of crucifixion ensured that. But the spiritual agony of the weight of humanity’s sin, the separation from God the Father as He could not look at His Son, that was anguish beyond imagining. To think that the One who had always been in constant communication with the Father would now know His rejection. What grief, what pain. What a payment at an extreme price.
Too often, when I sin, my reaction is lukewarm. It’s not really a big deal. I pull out my grace card and swipe it knowing that forgiveness awaits me. God is gracious and loving and kind.
And all of that is true. But my grace card is really in the shape of a cross. My God is also a God of justice, holiness and righteousness. Sin is not welcome in His presence. In order for there to be a relationship with Him, the consequence must be paid – paid in full. My sin is a really big deal! And this should give me more than a moment’s pause for reflection before I venture down that twisty sin trail.
My grace card should feel heavy in my hands. My grace card is so expensive I can never earn it. I certainly don’t deserve to be its carrier. My sin is so costly. My forgiveness was purchased at a great price.
And this God of justice and mercy, holiness and grace wants a relationship with me. He knew that I would never be able to attain His requirements of righteousness and so in the deepest depths of His mercy, He provided the payment. His Son, the perfect One, took on Himself all of the ugliness of my sin and bore it to the cross. Endured the suffering and shame. Paid the consequence that I could never pay in full by dying in my place. What love! What a Saviour!
My forgiveness – so expensive! This heart – grateful beyond words! It really is a Good Friday!