Many are undoubtedly thankful for the end of another workweek.
If you are a student, like me, today is probably a day off for many of you. However, the real reason you should thank “God that it is Friday” is because of the special place in history that marks this particular Friday. That’s right folks, today is Good Friday!
Well some may ask the question, “What is Good Friday?” Good Friday is simply the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary some 2,000 years ago. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and consequently rose from the dead three days later on Sunday—which is the Easter holiday. Good Friday is a day that should not be taken lightly, for Christians especially, but for Christians and non-Christians alike. This cataclysmic historical event had tremendous spiritual ramifications for the entire creation, especially the climax of that creation: the human race.
Probably the most well-know passage of scripture highlights the significance of what took place on this Friday in the first century. John 3:16 reads: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish but have everlasting life.” It was on this day that Jesus voluntarily mounted the cross, bore the sins of the world and conquered death for our sakes that we may have a right to paradise. I highlight the word “voluntarily” because Jesus makes it known that, “No one takes my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do” (John 10:18).
One thing that should be noted is the fact that this day could have possibly not happened. Sounds shocking, right? If one reads the account of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, this does not seem so farfetched. The gospel of Luke details Jesus’ agony over his impending death, to the point where he broke into a sweat of blood as he was praying more earnestly. What was Jesus praying for? He was praying that he did not have to endure the intense suffering that was about to occur: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:41).
God’s entire plan of redemption was hinged upon the obedience of Jesus. Jesus’ own prayer was that he did not have to take on this immense suffering, but even in his moment of weakness he submitted to the will of God—which was for Jesus to be a ransom for many. This day symbolizes Jesus’ extreme obedience to God and his extravagant love for humanity; after all, he went to the cross with you and I on his mind. The death of Christ is not, indeed, how the story ends. We know that he rose from the grave on Sunday, with the keys to death and Hades, giving us the ability to be saved by faith in him.
You might recall that I noted that this day should mean something to non-Christians as well. My logic is this: Romans 5:8 tells us, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This means that there was a point in our lives where us Christians were not aligned with Christ as well. Realizing this, Christians should note that those who are not Christians today have hope of eternal salvation with this great act of love. Our Christian testimony comes in to play, however, as we accept our vocation of being a witness to the ends of the earth. Though all might not celebrate it, Good Friday will come to mean the world to millions of people with the aide of Christian evangelism.
Hopefully, when remembering this day, Christians will walk more reverently and with more appreciation for the precious gift of grace that God has given us in his son, Jesus Christ. What better way to commemorate this day than to reach out to someone that has not received Christ as personal lord and savior? After all, God’s gift of grace is one that all may partake in, and one that Christians should be more than willing to share.