A recent ad from a grocery story called Tesco demonstrates that they might not quite understand the backstory to the holiday known as “Good Friday:”
— Richard Coles (@RevRichardColes) April 13, 2017
As “Good Friday” approaches, it might be a good time to reflect on why this bleak event — the suffering and ultimate crucifixion of Christ — is described as “good.” Christianity.com explains:
For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).
On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).
While this is helpful, why is it called “Good Friday” and not “Bad Friday” or “Really Horrible Friday?”
In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief and salvation…. In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter.
Whether a sale on “beer and cider” would make that even better, I guess, is up to how you’re celebrating.