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HAGELIN: The good in Good Friday makes Easter possible
Question of the Day
Culture challenge of the week: The good in Good Friday
Darkness fell across the land, and the man they thought would be their savior cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Soon afterward, he took his last breath.
The people standing at the foot of the cross beat their breasts and stumbled away. From a distance, his mother and friends watched in silent despair.
His disciples were broken in spirit — no doubt confused, hurting and angry. They had followed this man for years, left their work and their families for him. They thought he would change everything. But in the course of one day, all of their hopes were dashed.
They all felt the sting of betrayal when Judas brought the soldiers to the garden to arrest Jesus. Later, Peter anguished at the darkness of his own heart after he denied his closest friend. Their miracle worker kept still as he was accused, remained silent as he was beaten, and carried his own cross. They heard the crowd mocking him, telling him to save himself, and his followers swelled with anticipation for him do it. Surely, he would. But instead, he gave up his spirit.
How many times have you felt the sting of betrayal in your own life? How long have you been haunted by your own conscience? How often are you consumed by bitter disappointment? How easily confused are you when things don’t go according to plan? Is there no justice in this world?
How are we ever to believe the promise in Romans that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose?” Does it really mean all things? Our own sin, injustice, even death itself?
The world has never seen a graver injustice than the death of Jesus. The only man who lived without sin was tortured and crucified. As the Prince of Peace suffered, the adversary rejoiced in his sickening, perverted understanding of victory.
Yet what seemed like victory for the powers of darkness, God used for the salvation of all mankind. What seemed like sure defeat was the greatest gain.
How to save your family: Consider Easter
Good Friday is good only because we know the rest of the story. Even the darkest day can be called good when you see it from God’s perspective. The power of God raised Jesus to life again, defeating the power of sin, defeating the power of death itself. God dealt a decisive blow to our enemy, and we reap the benefits of his victory. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter. Without Easter, there would be no Christianity, so let us consider the story again and learn what we can from it.
On the third day after his death, a group of women went to visit the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, as was customary in the day. But when they arrived, an angel greeted them and showed them that the tomb was empty. “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (Luke 24:5-7)
They rushed back to tell everyone what had happened, “but the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.” (Luke 24:11) The disciples were so consumed by their disappointment and hurt that they didn’t dare believe the good news. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared to them and showed them his wounds that they finally believed.
Have you ever thought about how strange it is that God raised Jesus from the dead but didn’t heal his wounds in the process? In her book “Feed My Shepherds,” Flora Slosson Wuellner addresses this question: “Why did Jesus still have wounds on His risen body? The traditional answer is that the wounds proved it was really he. But I believe the wounds had a deeper meaning with radically transforming implications that affect us through the ages. I believe the wounds were the sure sign that the eternal God through Jesus has never and will never ignore, negate, minimize, or transcend the significance of human woundedness. The risen Jesus is not so swallowed up in glory that he is beyond our reach, beyond our cries.”
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