Scripture: Luke 23:26-46, and/or Mark 15:16-37, and/or Matthew 27:32-54
The spiritual name for the day Jesus was crucified is “Good Friday.” I often felt uncomfortable referring to it by that name until I learned a valuable lesson from the BC comic strip written by the late Johnny Hart. Johnny Hart was a Christian and did not shy away from using comics to make subtle theological statements. My favorite was the one in which the character Peter, who was a philosopher, is staring into space and says, “I hate the term ‘Good Friday.’” “Why?” BC asks. Peter responds, “My Lord was hanged on a tree that day.” BC then asks, “If you were going to be hanged on that day, and he volunteered to take your place, how would you feel?” Peter answered, “Good.” BC says as he walks away, “Have a nice day.”
I have tried to understand the significance of Jesus’ willingness to suffer the indignity of public execution, and am not yet satisfied with the usual explanations of preachers and other theologians. I know about “blood sacrifice” from reading the Old Testament, and from singing “there is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein, and sinners plunged beneath that blood lose all their guilty stain” But blood sacrifice refers to the Mosaic Law which, carried to extremes by evil kings of Judah led them to sacrifice their own sons to whatever god-image they worshipped. I have also heard sermons on John 12:32 when Jesus said, “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.”
What I do understand is that Good Friday was the day Jesus endured the worst that evil could do, and transformed it into the best thing that could happen – the resurrection from the dead. Without Good Friday there would never have been that resurrection, which proves that “death cannot hold its prey. . . . “ That is the reason I call it “Good Friday.”
Prayer: Holy God, for the willingness to allow Jesus to suffer and die so that you could prove that evil can never win, we give you thanks. We thank you for the good you made happen on that Friday. AMEN.
Reverend Dr. Regi Thackston
Trinity UMC Pastor Emeritus