When I was young, growing up in a mostly Catholic background, I often found myself asking this specific question. Why is it Good when an innocent man was executed? Is it really so good that we celebrate the execution of a person when many have said they were the reason He was executed in the first place? To me, there was really nothing I would consider good about Good Friday.
As I grew up, I pushed the thoughts I had originally had about Good Friday down inside as I tried to make my way through searching for Jesus in Catholicism, then the Reformed traditions and finally evangelicalism. But when others seemed to have the same questions, the answers they typically cookie cutter and recycled.
“He died for our sins so we wouldn’t have to”
“Jesus was our substitutionary atonement so we could get into heaven.”
“Its good for us because we can now spend eternity with Him.”
Its not Always About You
Now, while I am not arguing the validity of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, or in many ways that it was necessary, I am arguing for the selfishness of the above statements. I think what is really being said here is that it is good, because I benefited from it.
This is a dangerous view of the crucifixion because it puts us at the center of the story and narrative and pushes Jesus into the margins. His suffering is marginalized as something that needed to be done so that we could benefit. Nothing is farther from the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the bloody execution Jesus endured at the hands of the state.
Toxic and Selfish Theology
We live in an era of toxic and selfish theology. It goes far beyond Good Friday ad into the core of western Christianity. We go to church for a feeling. Christians often will shy away from churches where the programs or choir are not of entertainment caliber. We find many far more concerned with what they are getting out of church rather than feeding into the work of Jesus Christ. So maybe the question should be, “what’s so good about church?”
Like Good Friday, we need to stop looking to the church as something to serve us. We must stop making Christian observations, the gospel and church about what it can do for us. Good Friday is not important because of what it can offer me, its important for how it empowers me to serve. Good Friday is good because of the empowerment given to us to be bold and stand for the broken, the widow, the orphan and the oppressed. The good that comes out of Good Friday was meant for those we will serve as the hands and feet of a savior that gave the ultimate sacrifice for those He loved. All of us!
We Must Move Away from the Capitalist Theology
As believers, we need to shy away from the capitalistic attitude of what’s in it for me and instead ask what’s in it for thee? Good Friday, Easter or Christmas are not about the prizes we get. These holidays are about remembering the high cost of salvation. Not to mention the high personal cost of doing the right thing even unto death.
What’s So Good About It?
So what is so Good about Good Friday? Christ’s death empowers us to live by example. The death of Jesus should cause us to pause and recognize not only what was done for us but what we could do for others. The Goodness of Friday comes in the form of service to a hurting world, through the suffering of a king, so that we would be so empowered. If we lived the gospel, we could make it a Good Friday indeed.
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