2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it..."
How fitting that we come to "Good" Friday and this passage of Scripture at the same time.
I love this time of year but always hated the name "good" Friday. Good is such a weak word and woefully inadequate to define or describe the significance of that dark Friday when God's only begotten Son not only died, but died while His professed followers cheered on the gruesome event. There is nothing good about that. We lament the injustices of our times yet none of it compares to this. A man who did nothing but help people and offer hope to hopeless gets murdered by the professed church of God simply because He refused to act the part they felt He must - a part that would have only increased the bloodshed and divisions already existing between the people of the world.
It begs a serious question. For all the talk about God's love do we really mean it? Do we really want a God who is a friend of tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners? A friend of our political opponents? A friend of other nations? A friend of Islam even? Or do we want a God who is a champion of our point of view and dispenses favour on us and woe on our enemies?
Jesus had to go. They couldn't stand Love. They preferred darkness rather than Light. Are we different? I hope so. I pray so. I want it to be so.
Once a preacher stood up in a large influential church in California and preached a one line sermon and sat back down. Here is the sermon:
"The love you have for God is equal to or less than the love you have for your worst enemy."
Our part on that dark Friday was anything but good. What we did to Him was anything but good. But, BUT what He was willing to do for us in spite of us was far beyond good. It remains the grandest display of love the universe has ever seen and it will eventually be fully seen that it was the turning point of history and marked the beginning of the end of satan's reign of terror.
"Good" is woefully inadequate.
Tonight at 7pm my church will gather to sing and praise and think about what that day meant and where we are in the stream of time. I can't wait. We have much to celebrate and much to think about. It's not "good" Friday. It marks both the worst and arguably best day this world has ever known.