“Good Friday.” I suppose that we call it good because it was on that day, the day that Jesus died, that the price was paid for our redemption.
But for the disciples of that day, it was not good. It was not good for the apostles, and it was not good for the other followers of Jesus. It was not good for Mary, the mother of Jesus, nor for the other women who were his followers. It was not good for the several others who, after Jesus had been crucified, retreated behind locked doors out of fear of the Jews.
The day for all of these people was not good. It was the darkest of all possible days.
These people were not only followers of Jesus, but they had placed every hope that they had in him. They did not have an option number two.
Of course, before he died Jesus had told them that they should wait for three days, after which he would rise from the dead. But these words of Jesus were for them, too difficult to grasp. Despite the very clear meaning of what Jesus said, they had put these words into the same category as other enigmatic sayings of Jesus. They either did not take what he had told them literally, or perhaps they simply did not understand.[i]
The only thing that was clear to them on this day was that Jesus had died. No one ever survived the cross. It was the worst form of death. They saw him die.
It was not “Good Friday” for them. It was the darkest of all possible days.
Today we celebrate Good Friday almost without thought. We color our Easter eggs and we hide baskets of candy. Most years there is a feeling spring in the air and we are in good spirits. Friday is the day for us to plan our happy weekend gatherings.
For very many people, Good Friday is no different at all from any other Friday. It is a good day for them because it is the last day of the workweek. The weekend is here. TGIF.
But we cannot know the joy and the deeper meaning of Resurrection Sunday if we miss the agony of Good Friday. On this Friday, try to imagine the despair of the disciples on that day some 2000 years ago. They saw every hope in their lives dashed to pieces. Every single good thing had been taken away.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, this is exactly our own despair without Christ. Hope itself is dead and there is no option number two. If Christ is dead to you, you are among the most miserable of creatures and of all people most to be pitied.[ii]