If we conducted a poll, Christmas would get most of the votes, but not mine. A virgin giving birth is an astonishing miracle. But if that’s all it is, where’s the good news for you and me?
A lot of people would vote for Easter, but I wouldn’t. A man rising from the dead is another amazing miracle. But unless it’s somehow connected to me, and my desperate need to rise from the death due for my sin, then there’s not a whole lot for me to celebrate on Resurrection Sunday.
You can see where I’m going. Good Friday is the essential common thread that weaves the other holidays together and makes them good news. Because Good Friday alone connects their meaning to sinners like us. We really should call it Good News Friday.
Think about Christmas. Why was Jesus Christ born? The angel of the Lord told Joseph the reason. He told Joseph to “call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The angel didn’t reveal the whole story. But the narrative unfolds for us in the pages of the Bible from beginning to end. And it goes something like this:
Before the foundations of the world the Son of God had already set his face like a flint for Jerusalem to fulfill his ultimate mission: to die in the place of his Bride, a body of fallen people, undeserving sinners every one of them. The manger in Bethlehem was just one step in the divine processional that led to the cross.
Think about Easter. Why did Jesus Christ rise from the dead? One reason is that the grave couldn’t hold the infinitely glorious Person. But there’s another reason. One that is personal and intimate. One that applies to everyone connected to Christ by authentic faith:
The price for our sin had been paid in full by the one and only Person who was able to do it, our Sinless Sin-bearer, our God-man, our Savior.
To me Good Friday is always a paradoxical experience. On one hand it’s sober and somber and melancholy. I listen to Jars of Clay’s song, O Come and Mourn with me Awhile. But on the other hand, I’m filled with kick-up-my-heels rejoicing because this death is in my place. And it changes everything forever!
If there is one day of the year we should take off from work and spend worshipping alone, and in our home, and with our church families, it’s Good Friday. Please don’t neglect it.
It’s called Good Friday for a reason. But I’d rather call it The Best Friday.
Better yet, The Best Day. Period.