Understanding Good Friday in Context

Understanding Good Friday in Context April 15, 2022

Many times when we look at Good Friday, we look at it in the rearview mirror. When we view the execution of Jesus that occurs on Good Friday, we do it with the knowledge of what happens on Sunday. Its important to remember  that the disciples did not know what was going to occur.

The Disciples Reality

I think its important to understand how frightening it would have been to be a follower of Christ on Saturday into Sunday. The gospels speak a lot into the time leading up to the crucifixion as well as the burial and resurrection. What the Bible seems to remain silent on is Saturday leading into Sunday morning. It would appear the fear and terror felt by these leaderless disciples was so palpable they could not speak. The only real discussion about that time frame occurs when Pilate and the Pharisees meet to make a plan to secure the tomb so that Jesus’ body isn’t stolen.

You see, in between the speaking of a promise and the fulfillment of the promise their can exist fear in that space. The disciples scattered, Mary and a handful of others buried her baby boy. It could be argued that many of the disciples never believed Jesus when He said He would die. In fact, I would argue that the reason Judas betrayed Jesus is because he was sure of it. I believe that Judas thought Jesus’ arrest and trial would bring about the revolution that would free the Kingdom of Israel, finally giving him the power he so desired.

Even as Jesus is being tried, Peter denies Him adamantly. We often forget that after the crucifixion, there were 11 disciples who may have felt betrayed and lied to. Hurt that Jesus actually died. Its very easy for us to look back on history with a biblical account and say “of course Jesus had to die” and “of course Jesus would resurrect.” But that was not the experience of those living in the moment. For them it was horror at the loss of a loved one and fear of their own fates.

Continual Resurrection

Last year, I asked readers what is so good about Good Friday? This year I challenge readers of this to consider the fear the disciples felt after Good Friday. Also, consider with this shattering fear, how brave it was for them to return together and then go out, creating the church we see in Acts and onward all the way to us. I challenge you to care for your neighbors who are daily challenged by fear and worry of the unknown. We often carry with us what Pete Enns has called “The Sin of Certainty”. I challenge you to go beyond certainty. Go to those places of fear and concern in your spiritual life and have the courage to face it. What you may find is the real truth about the resurrection in faith. Resurrected faith occurs everyday in our faith walk.


But the only way to get to the resurrection is to go through the death and fear of dying to what we once thought was certain. So as Good Friday ends and we begin Silent Saturday, never forget those caught in desperation or despair. Also, never forget that you may have once been and desperation and fear and were resurrected to a life of understanding and embracing those parts of life. We never truly shake the fears of life. But the silence of Saturday shows us just how important the resurrection of Sunday really is. He is risen indeed!


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