Why Good Friday is My Favorite


     I’ve often heard preachers assert that Easter is more important than Good Friday. “There’s no point to the Cross if there is no Resurrection,” they say. And while I love to celebrate Christ’s triumphant victory (I think we far too often live with a defeatist mindset in the Church), I’d like to suggest that Good Friday is actually the highest and holiest of feast days. It may seem totally backwards and offensive to our clouded minds, but the brutal death of Jesus on the Cross is where God’s glory is most powerfully put on display for all to see.

Christ and Him Crucified

     St. Paul is famous for saying, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Why was Paul so obsessed with the Cruciform God? Because Paul saw that the cruciformity of God’s nature is the FULLNESS of God’s nature. The Crucifixion is where God opened up His heart and showed us all that is inside. This where we get our purest definition of Who God eternally is and what He is eternally like. Herein lies the most outstanding of beauties!

     At the Cross, we see that being King of Kings looks like being the Servant of All.

     At the Cross, we see that being Omnipotent looks like being laid down and broken in selfless love.

     At the Cross we see that true strength looks like power under restraint, poured out in sacrifice.

     At the Cross we hear God Himself saying, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

     Here we learn that the Lord’s desire to offer mercy, to have relationship with us, to practice vulnerability, and to embody a genuinely unconditional love is not just part of His agenda. It is His agenda. All other character traits we might attribute to Him must be re-defined in light of this mind-blowing moment of clarity.

The Way God Operates

“His defeat is itself His breakthrough.”

     Jesus hanging on the Tree is the Logos — the logic of God. He may look defeated, but His defeat is itself His breakthrough. In shedding His blood and releasing His last breath, Jesus finished the work that needed to be done, once and for all (see John 17:4, John 19:30, Romans 6:10, and Hebrews 10:10). We might even go so far as to consider the idea that Resurrection is only the fruit and the affirmation of Christ overcoming the “wisdom of this world” on Calvary. His atoning sacrifice is where He carried out His own Sermon-on-the-Mount philosophy for life to its fullest extent.

     What a success!

     Our hearts are not won to the Lord because He has coerced us into worshiping Him. We are won by the bleeding heart of the Lord that loves us to no end. Likewise, we in turn extend His grace to others not by pressuring them, convincing them with arguments, or giving them threats of retribution.

     We choose the low road. This is the Way of the Cross.

Isaiah 55…

return to the Lord…for he will abundantly pardon.
‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.
‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are My ways higher than your ways
    and My thoughts than your thoughts…'”

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Thoughts On the Prayer Room…

     Going to the Prayer Room is a lot like going to the gym. I usually go to the gym alone, and my goal isn’t to socialize. It’s to get stuff done. However, I purposefully go to a place filled with lots of fit and active people because I feed off their energy even as I am pursuing my own goals my own way.

     Similarly, a lot of prayer rooms are set up not so much for us to pray in a circle and engage with each other, but to corporately set our attention on Jesus and His Throne. We are there as individuals with our own personal interactions with the Lord, but we are doing it together in the same set apart space (listening to the same drum beat and choruses). And that helps keep us more focused and inspired in our own devotional lives and intercession times.

     Plus, the repetitive nature of our prayers and songs are similar to gym workout routines. Rather than lifting the same weights and doing the same exercises week after week, we rehearse the same songs (with fresh passion each time) and declare the same scriptures. And every time we do the truth of those songs and verses are re-enforced and our faith is built. Over time, our perspectives of ourselves and of what God is doing around us change significantly. We learn to relate to the world around us with a deeper sense of confidence and God-given optimism.

     This is only one way to practice spiritual disciplines and it’s admittedly quite different from what has been done in other cultures and other periods of history. It’s highly rewarding and helpful nevertheless. I think it is a massive gift to our Western, individualized, entertainment-driven culture. It’s helping a disconnected and easily distracted generation get re-centered on the one thing that’s needed; our God’s immense love.

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