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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Guest Writer: “Holy Saturday”

In the Church, we spend a lot of time on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. And with good cause. It’s critical to remember to serve with love even those who will betray and deny us. It’s even more crucial to see the myth of redemptive violence canceled by the Cross. And who doesn’t love the joy of an empty tomb? A Man risen?

But today is Holy Saturday. And today is actually the kind of day that most of us live in all the time.

Holy Saturday is about waiting in the silence of the Divine. It’s about having seen the worst that the world has to offer — pain, greed, violence, death — and not yet being able to see the glory of the restoration of all things. Holy Saturday is about having to get up — on Shabbat (a day of rest) — and from that rest, get on with your day, get on with your worship, dive back into the Word and the promises of God… and WAIT.

God knows I hate waiting.

There are a lot of theological ideas about why it was three days in the tomb, in death. But what if God was simply mirroring the reality that we all face? That when we crucify something, when we sacrifice in order to achieve a better goal, it almost never comes right away. There is always the tension of now and not yet. There is always a waiting.

So on Holy Saturday — my Sabbath, a day of rest — I am trying to pour myself back into the Living Word. I am trying to remember that healing takes time. Tikkun Olam isn’t overnight. Building anything worth having requires waiting.

Bless you in whatever you are waiting for… a job, a husband, a child, a home, a community, health.

And bless you on this Holy Saturday.

— Katie Hunt Sturm

TheWhisperedLife.com