Before we know it Easter weekend will be here. Families will gather. Meals shared. Eggs hidden and found. Our family celebrates with a mixture of activities. Our kids search the basement for candy eggs, we share a special family meal, and use the our very special tablecloth.
We attend a church service on Good Friday. It is somber, sad, and reverent. It’s when we focus on the ultimate act of sacrifice. Christ’s death. Nailed to a cross because he claimed to be God. Not a god, THE GOD.
As a mother, my mind drifts to Mary and a sermon I heard long ago about this very moment in her life. This moment of pain, watching her first-born son stretch his arms out accepting the nails.
For nine hours Jesus hung until he breathed his last.
Mary is silent. She does not claim that Jesus was the result of a one-night stand or the product of a premature frolic with Joseph. She does not stand at the foot of his cross and deny his claim to be the Son of God because she knew.
Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God.
And now he was dead.
I can’t help but wonder what Jesus’ friends thought as all this played out. Did they see walls when Jesus finally breathed his last? Did they have long-term plans for Jesus’ political future only to have them shattered? Did they truly understand his mission on earth? If this is Good Friday, what is so good about it?
When the apostles feared swords, Jesus offered healing (Luke 22:49-51). When they saw failure, Jesus saw fulfillment (Luke 24:13-35). When they saw death and destruction, the God of hope stepped in and changed everything.
Why is Good Friday good? Because Jesus’ death is the beginning of the new covenant between God and his people. The covenant we are under today. The covenant that God will honor because He always keeps His word.
That, my dear friends, is good.
*Artwork by Jonathan Weeks