Good Friday, Great Friday.
Today is a good day. This day is the day that Jesus died on the cross over 2000 years ago.
Do you agree? Do you feel like today is just another good day or is it a “Good” Friday? Your views about this Friday might depend on how you see yourself today. How do you feel about “you” today?
I only ask this question because I think many of us can feel the guilt, the shame, and the heaviness of what happened 2000 years ago. Some of us take the crucifixion of Jesus very seriously and this day weighs us down.
Others, perhaps you, might not feel the weight of the death of Jesus, but you feel the guilt, with some shame sprinkled in, for things that have happened in your life. For making poor decisions. For living recklessly. For not using words kindly. For being angry. For a million other things.
But, friends, today is a “good” day for all of us because this is the day where all those things that drive us to shame and guilt have been laid before our Lord and He says it is as if they never happened. (Hebrews 8:12) Whoa! That is so good, it is GREAT!
On this day, a little over 2000 years ago, grace invaded our lives.
Let’s take a minute to consider exactly what happened because of that day…
There is nothing too great.
There is nothing too messy.
There is nothing too awful.
There is nothing too stressful.
There is nothing too tragic.
There is nothing too dark.
There is nothing too heart-breaking that HIS greatness cannot help you overcome.
Friends, this day reminds us that it is okay—no, not just okay, it was designed for this purpose—to lay it all down at the cross. That means all the things I mentioned above–the dark, messy stuff—can be brought before our Lord and laid down at the cross. You won’t physically have a cross to walk up to, but that cross is always there for you.
Think about this. Because of this day, you are able to see your true, redeemed, deeply-loved self, reflected in the cross of Jesus. This day makes it possible for you to see yourself as God sees you. When Jesus went to the cross, He went for you so you do not have to stay bound to the mistakes you’ve made. Jesus’ death allows you to be free from the burden of your own sin.
l John 1: 5-7 tells us that God is light and there is no darkness found in Him. When we walk with Him, we, too, walk in the light. His light purifies us and makes us clean and new.
Watch what He will do.
Think back to that Friday 2000 years ago. Imagine close friends and family members watching Jesus as He hung on the cross. Thinking. Waiting. Praying. Watching what He would do. How their hearts must have been breaking. This was someone dear to them. Someone they walked and talked with. Someone they loved. They couldn’t know His next steps, although He had tried to tell them. They didn’t fully understand.
Now, think about this Friday. Today. There are many who are thinking, waiting, praying for Jesus. We know more. We’ve read the bible. But, we still don’t know it all. We’re still watching for what Jesus will do—for that day when He will return to take everyone home with Him. And, we watch and wait for all the things He will do with our lives.
Watch what He will do.
It’s hard to fathom the depth of the physical pain Jesus endured. How can the word “joy” be associated with any of that day, yet it was. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) records, “for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy set before Him was us. He did what He did for us—you and me. And, His knowing that He was suffering for our benefit brought Him joy.
Imagine yourself at the foot of the cross today. Go ahead, look up, as if looking up at the cross. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Think of His greatness and His love for you. Forget about earthly things. Instead, think only on God and what He did for you. Then take a step forward. Yes, really take a step. And in that step, let His greatness wash over you. Feel the greatness He has called on your life. Jesus’ death on the cross called all the powers of God down on your life. When you step toward Him, He opens His hands and pours His goodness on you. For that day forward, God can and will direct your steps. Oh, He doesn’t call you to walk this way or that around the block. It’s much better than that. When you include Him in your decisions for life, He will point you in the right direction, guide you through the good and bad, and teach you more about yourself with each step.
Watch what He will do.
I love how Colossians 2:2 is worded in the Passion Bible. It says, “I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ.”
Jesus’ death on the cross ensures that you have access to everything good God has planned for you. Are you ready for what happens next? Where is God going to take you? How is your life going to change? I don’t have all the answers; I just know I want to be a part of it—whatever it is. How about you?
This is Good Friday. Most of the world celebrates this day, recognizing its significance in history. But, I say, anytime I can lay my burdens down; anytime I can anticipate the future with joy; anytime I can celebrate a risen King means it’s a GREAT DAY!
So today let’s call it “Great Friday” and spread the good news that Jesus is coming again!
Prayer: I open my heart to you today, Father. Will you receive everything that I lay down at your feet? Thank you for restoring the goodness of who we are and will be at the surrendered sacrifice. Father, you are so good — you are so great. I believe there is nothing greater.